Hello, Reddit! My name is Wawa, and I am a deaf (I rock a cochlear implant, a.k.a. 'CI') rapper, actor, dancer/choreographer, and 3rd degree black belt in kung fu (wushu)! I released my album 'DEAF: So What?!' earlier this month and will be hanging out for a few hours am here to promote understanding of deaf culture and deaf musicians. Ask me anything!

My "Hello, Reddit!" video: https://youtu.be/Z9_zyIHNcCI

Verification pic, with my photographer /u/oprahhaza and his cats, who are here with me to help with my AMA: http://i.imgur.com/TzFEJBp.jpg.

Here's a stream of 'Plantation', a track off of 'DEAF: So What?!'.: http://wawa.bandzoogle.com/track/1089580/plantation?autostart=true

Here's another stream - 'Faceless Man', which is a song about my father, who dropped out of the picture when I was six. I haven't seen him since and don't even remember what he looks like. http://wawa.bandzoogle.com/track/1087827/faceless-man-feat-adam-e?autostart=true

Some background information on me:

I was born in Philadelphia, PA and was born deaf. I later (after college) found out that I'm deaf by heritage. My mom wasn't given any resources regarding deaf schools or programs, etc., and was just told by my doctors that I would need to live with a hearing aid. I didn't even learn sign language until I was in college. Being deaf and not having a way to communicate with the world was tough.

I started college early at 17 and moved to DC to attend Gallaudet University. All I had with me was $200 and a suitcase with pants, six shirts, underwear, socks, sneakers, and $200 cash. I didn't know sign but I was ready for an adventure! During college I learned American Sign Language. BEST THING, hands down! I had craved a way to communicate all my life as I was nearly always missing out - enter ASL and suddenly I understood everything! BEST. THING. EVER.

I'm a professional actor and dancer (yeah, deaf folks can dance y'all!). I recently starred in the official music video for 'Fingers Crossed' by the R&B artist Maxwell. I was the main choreographer for two awesome dance companies and was an actor in residence for the famous CENTER STAGE theatre in Baltimore, MD. I have traveled and performed around the globe. I'm a 3rd degree Black belt in Kung Fu/Wushu.

Here is a short clip from a Facebook Live Q&A session yesterday where I talk about my musical influences, experiencing hip-hop as a young deaf person, and my first gig, where I was booted off-stage because I was a deaf rapper.

Yep, there's a lot to me but I'll let you guys ask the questions!

Links and stuff!

Website: http://diphopwawa.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wawasworld

Web store: http://diphopwawa.com/store

'DEAF: So What?!' on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/deaf-so-what-!/id1150800454

DJ Nicar (my producer)'s site: http://djnicar.com

Jae (my photographer - /u/oprahhaza)'s site: http://jyiphoto.com

Video Responses to Questions:

  • Favorite rapper and why? What is that memory that you forever hold on to? https://youtu.be/GxyhLyiTZds

  • Hey WaWa, In my second semester of ASL, loving it, unfortunately it seems to take a bit longer than others to click with me. I also was given a sign name a couple weeks ago. How long did it take you to be fluent in ASL? Do you see success in those studying to translate? Thanks! https://youtu.be/L10DFdvnf6A

  • I can only think of two deaf actors (Marlee Matlin and ... googles Deanne Bray (from Heroes), and Nyle DiMarco as public figures. That seems like an awfully low number of people. As a deaf individual 'in the public eye', do you think that the hearing world is doing enough to include deaf individuals, especially in the public sector? What can we in the hearing world do to accommodate deaf individuals? Do you know of any resources the average person could make use of? (For instance I want to get some kind of sticker or button to put on a name badge at work to show that I can sign.) AND FINALLY -- Are there any deaf individuals you'd like to point out, in social media or otherwise in the public eye? Folks we should know about? https://youtu.be/uLp9B80gVgw

  • Hey Wawa. I'm a deaf swing dancer in my spare time (BTE/Severe-profound hearing). What is the inspiration behind your cheorography? Is there a specific style/cheographer that influenced you? https://youtu.be/2Lq7dvEmyHg

  • As an actor what is the best thing a director can do for you on set? https://youtu.be/Te3vQH7KRJc

  • Do you believe in God? https://youtu.be/LuABwhc75xo

  • All right, I'll ask it: Biggie, Tupac or Nas? https://youtu.be/3z1dBenRRjQ

Comments: 327 • Responses: 125  • Date: 

Audrin221 karma

Can I get a large coffee and a breakfast sandwich while I'm filling up my tank?

vinochick65 karma

Only us Philly area folks will ever understand the glory.

kkehoe545 karma

While us philly folk do enjoy WAWA, so does most of the east coast. They have expanded a lot over the last decade.

Thormundr28 karma

New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia all have Wawa now

willief8 karma

My first job was at a Wawa in Connecticut. I haven't stepped foot into a Krauser's since Wawa left.

Thormundr6 karma

I work at one currently. Good job so far.

wawasworld5 karma

I heard people get treated well!

wawasworld5 karma

wow

Audrin6 karma

...i'm in Florida and there's a Wawa every 25 feet...

wawasworld3 karma

Dang, that's alot

wawasworld10 karma

lol good luck with that! I wish I could get that for free!

esoteric_plumbus7 karma

Haha I was going to ask what's your favorite hoagie

wawasworld16 karma

Yo, I gotta have Jim's Cheesesteak!

jlaverty4 karma

Best cheese steaks! On the corner of 4th and South!

wawasworld3 karma

YUP!!!

BenraldoTheHo4 karma

Need a sizzli for the road

wawasworld3 karma

go get it!

Davedeaux13 karma

Deaf guy here. I notice a Cochlear Implant in your album cover. I also wear a hearing device called BAHA but that's for a different type of hearing loss. I don't have a question, just happy to see another deaf guy not feeling limited by his ailment. Good for you. I listened to your track and although its not my thing, I'm happy you were able to put that out. I do have to ask a question or this will get deleted so... how long have you had an implant?

wawasworld12 karma

YOO!! glad to have ya! No deletion at all.. it's an open and honest question and comment. I had my CI for a year now. Wore hearing aids all my life and during college it started to decline... then I got hot with vertigo! 3 day bedridden and then. nothing. I was STILL performing! My DJ ( DJ Nicar) has been an amazing help! Bless him.. we showed that deaf people still can do it.. with or without CI or hearing aids..

Davedeaux2 karma

Keep doing what you're doing buddy!

wawasworld3 karma

Will do, and THANK YOU!

Lylohcat10 karma

I'm super psyched that you are doing an AMA! Your album had been going around my deaf culture and ASL club. We're all planning on listening to it together. If you ever want to do a Skype chat with our club or anything wed love to hear from you.

For my question, how has getting a CI and not learning sign until you were at gallaudet changed you in the deaf community? They are a closed group sometimes. As a hearing person, I struggle to feel included even when I 'turn off' my voice for hours and chat with them in ASL. I feel like even though I do sign, there's some part of them that still sees me as different. I've seen people say that having a CI is like straddling the world between Deaf and hearing. What are your thoughts?

wawasworld9 karma

Would love to skype with you guys one day! You're gonna love the album! To answer your question, I was already signing before I got my CI.I had my surgery just a year ago. So ASL has been a part for me for years! I recall turning off my voice while signing, when I first started. That's a great way to get out of your comfort zone and immersed in deaf culture. It enhance your reception skills. I needed that alot back then so turning off my voice and even taking off my hearing aids, helped a great deal. Alot of people will say anything against something they don't truly understand. After a few years, it'll change.

kirbycope7 karma

Where does your name, Wawa, come from?

wawasworld21 karma

My real name is Warren. me being deaf, I couldn't pronounce my name correctly and it came out as Wa-wa.. so it stuck! LOL

TheThirdStrike8 karma

I was totally convinced it was a Helen Keller/Miracle Worker reference.

wawasworld2 karma

lol interesting but NOPE!

mapkin3 karma

It's a convenience store in the NE (and some in FL). Was a dairy farm in Wawa, PA, then a market, now it's gas stations and fast food. Good coffee, though.

kirbycope3 karma

Yeah, I used to go there on my way to work every morning when I lived in MD.

wawasworld1 karma

cool

wawasworld3 karma

yep, I know exactly where you're coming from. I'm from Philly and it's everywhere!

messy_eater2 karma

I'm trying to figure out, though, is that part of how you settled on your name? You just mention it was how you pronounced your name, but it's very coincidental.

wawasworld2 karma

Nah, because I was deaf it was hard for me to pronounce my name (Warren). Pronouncing the letter "R" was hard for me, so it stuck, and now I guess I'll be buried with that name, lol.

messy_eater3 karma

Oh okay, fair enough! I saw Wawa, read you were born in Philly, and couldn't get it out of my head haha.

wawasworld3 karma

lol i get it bro

Candroth7 karma

In grade school as a kid (in the 80s), there was sometimes a deaf kid in class with me. Sesame Street had a deaf character (Linda!) that helped me learn a couple super basic signs. When I reached 7th grade I shared a couple of classes with a deaf girl and started learning ASL on my own to communicate with her, however slow it would be. I've tried to educate myself over the years on deaf culture, sign language, accessibility and visibility, etc.

I have a few questions for you!

I can only think of two deaf actors (Marlee Matlin and ... *googles* Deanne Bray (from Heroes), and Nyle DiMarco as public figures. That seems like an awfully low number of people. As a deaf individual 'in the public eye', do you think that the hearing world is doing enough to include deaf individuals, especially in the public sector?

What can we in the hearing world do to accommodate deaf individuals? Do you know of any resources the average person could make use of? (For instance I want to get some kind of sticker or button to put on a name badge at work to show that I can sign.)

AND FINALLY -- Are there any deaf individuals you'd like to point out, in social media or otherwise in the public eye? Folks we should know about?

wawasworld5 karma

It's a long video but this is for you!

https://youtu.be/uLp9B80gVgw

wawasworld3 karma

Lots of great questions and since there is a little lull in the questions, we are going to do a video response to this in a minute!

SithRose2 karma

Don't forget Sophie Stone from Doctor Who. :)

_quicksand2 karma

Your comment got me really excited to rewatch that episode since I've started learning ASL until I realized she's British and signs BSL. Well, fuck.

wawasworld2 karma

LOL I get it! Really do but the at least she's dea and in the deaf community. It may not be ASL but she advocates for the deaf... Unity is important.

wawasworld1 karma

cool!

Knight12ify6 karma

All right, I'll ask it: Biggie, Tupac or Nas?

Sackyhack4 karma

Now know how to say Tupac in sign language

wawasworld2 karma

awesome!

sknnbones6 karma

Have you considered a Rap Battle with BLIND FURY?

wawasworld11 karma

I love Blind Fury! I study him sometimes.. I'm angry at the fact he didn't get signed cuz he's done something that's truly incredible. Would love to work with him one day. Hint: I've actually reached out to him a year ago but no response back. Hopefully, one day, he will.

GRZMNKY5 karma

He just hasn't seen your letter yet

wawasworld9 karma

NOPE but his manager may have!!

sknnbones2 karma

He is doing a gig with Sprite soda I believe

good luck, he is one of my favorite rap battler spittin' that fire.

wawasworld1 karma

Interesting! I'll check that. Thanks.

sknnbones2 karma

He just recently started releasing official stuff on youtube

Maybe try his twitter?

wawasworld1 karma

Oh I follow him...

joelinator5 karma

Where did the blue raspberry soda go? You could buy a two liter of it for like 1.79

wawasworld5 karma

dunno

Zelbod5 karma

Hey man,

Nice songs. Some are not my type but they are cool.

Question: There are music videos out there and I was wondering, as a rapper are you going to inspire others by doing sign languages in your music videos if you ever make one?

You mentioned you learned sign language when you were 17, do you think current education should include basic sign languages so that deaf people won't feel left out?

wawasworld6 karma

Thanks for the honesty! I appreciate that. I sign in my videos. Currently, working on creating more. It to provide access for both the deaf and hearing communities. Yes, I strong feel that education should include ASL into the curriculum. Here's a question for you. If you become deaf, right now? what would you do?

smartystilettos4 karma

Is it hard to compromise how your words are understood when they're spoken vs when they're signed? My sister signs, and she said ASL translations of rap songs are really different than just listening to them. Is it something you think a lot about when you're writing?

wawasworld5 karma

ALL THE TIME! I constantly think about how to make lyrics clear enough for, both the deaf and hearing, to understand without going off the point. It's a lit complicated than you think but rewarding once you make it work.

THound893 karma

Hey WaWa, In my second semester of ASL, loving it, unfortunately it seems to take a bit longer than others to click with me. I also was given a sign name a couple weeks ago. How long did it take you to be fluent in ASL? Do you see success in those studying to translate? Thanks!

wawasworld3 karma

https://youtu.be/L10DFdvnf6A

Good luck and thank you!

wawasworld2 karma

Video comment incoming!

SweetGerberaDaisy3 karma

Hey Wawa. I'm a deaf swing dancer in my spare time (BTE/Severe-profound hearing).

What is the inspiration behind your cheorography? Is there a specific style/cheographer that influenced you?

wawasworld3 karma

To answer your question: https://youtu.be/2Lq7dvEmyHg

Jae: Sorry about the wind, the video comments were a spur-of-the-moment thing and I didn't have time to set up audio. I hope you like the video!

SweetGerberaDaisy2 karma

Love it. Thank you so much!

wawasworld1 karma

Anytime!

wawasworld2 karma

Video comment incoming!

MGUK3 karma

Whats the best move for a complete novice to use to defend themselves from an assailant?

wawasworld2 karma

Martial arts is all about the art of non-combat, so I would only use it as a last resort. I guess it would depend on the situation you're in, so it's hard to say. Whatever you've practiced becomes instant, like a reflex, so it'd really depend on your history.

MoSteez3 karma

What artist made you fall in love with music?

wawasworld8 karma

Michael Jackson! Everything about him, the way he performs, the messages he portrays through his work and his genuine love for people.

BLSbranded3 karma

Would you consider battling Mute Spittah?

wawasworld3 karma

Who's that?

wawasworld3 karma

lol yall crazy

the_real_bubbles2 karma

Goddamn how'd nobody else come looking for this?

wawasworld2 karma

with so many things going on.. it happens.. it's all good though

BLSbranded2 karma

Seriously. People overlooking the important questions.

wawasworld2 karma

That happens sometimes...

DirkDiggler4693 karma

What's your favorite rhyme you've ever written/spit?

wawasworld4 karma

Black deaf, and I got an accent.. I'm still dope like crack out the plastic, don't get it twisted cuz my voice boomtastic, still got the club lit like matches, they say WAWA you sound so different, it crank doe.. makes the whole world listen, everything's big I'm about big business, make that booty drop all my big booty **

liamquane2 karma

As an actor what is the best thing a director can do for you on set?

wawasworld2 karma

wawasworld1 karma

Video comment incoming!

liamquane2 karma

yaaaaaaaay Thank you! :~)

wawasworld2 karma

You're welcome! THANK YOU!

Vainquisher2 karma

wawasworld2 karma

Thanks for the video! ok 1st answer. I decided to get the CI because my hearing was declining during my college days ( I went and graduated from Gallaudet University). I was already in the entertainment field ( dancing, acting and producing music). I love what I do and have a mission that I wanted to share with people around the world. When I got hit with vertigo... both of my hearing whend from 90 DB to 120DB in a matter of 3 days. I began to research about CI again ( I researched about it years before losing more of my hearing and then stopped) and learned a great deal. Best decision ever. Yes, I've had people warn me of the problems so I used myself as their guinea pig, to prove the myths wrong. 2nd answer. If I wasnt in the entertainment field and had no kids, then no, I would not have gotten the CI. I'm proud of being deaf as well as I'm proud to have a CI. At the end of the day, I'm still deaf.

Bear_Taco2 karma

Have you been hit with Cease and Desist orders by WaWa? Other rappers like Eminem and Froggy Fresh (formerly Krispy Kreme) were threatened to stop using company names.

wawasworld4 karma

Nope, not at all.

MadDany942 karma

I wouldn't worry. If I were you I wont even be that optimistic about being as famous as Enimen. So you'll always be under the copywrite radar! :D

wawasworld2 karma

LOL... I get it but I just wanted to put deaf community on the music map and make sure it's set in stone. Pave a highway instead of a road. That's good for me!

Bonggadil2 karma

Dude, have you heard about Signmark? :)

Wikipedia:

Although it was only in 2004 that Vuoriheimo started creating his own music, he has signed poetry and music since he was a child.

Christmas carols were some of the first music he learned to sign. When performing, he rhymes signs by ensuring that they have the same types of hand forms and signs.

The bass line is important for him, as it helps him follow the music and time his rhymes. His facial expressions reinforce the signs, while improvisation is an essential part of the overall package.

His debut album, Signmark was released on 29 November 2006. The album included the soundtrack on CD and signed music videos on DVD. The album had eight songs on it, many of which dealt with the history, culture and rights of the Finnish signing community.

His songs are freeform signing, even though the vocal versions rhyme. His goal is to incorporate more rhyming signed lyrics on his next album.

The original Signmark group split up in May 2009, after which Signmark signed a record deal with Warner Music as a solo artist.

His record deal was a historic moment as he became the first deaf person to sign a recording contract with an international record company.

wawasworld2 karma

Yup! He's an awesome rapper and we've collaborated on one song of my current album! check it on my website.. the name of the song is Capital to Capital.

Vainquisher2 karma

Hey Wawa, have you been in contact with Sean Forbes? Can we look forward to a Sean Forbes feature on your next album?

wawasworld2 karma

Sean Forbes is family!! Yes, we've done a song and you can be sure he's on the next album! We just performed in KY! Awesome!

RedTeeRex2 karma

Rap is my go to genre. I really like the background stories of how rappers started doing their thing. I used to listen to battle rappers that changed it up a bit and went into the studio, or those that started strictly through youtube; my current favorite rapper has roots in spoken word poetry so he has a much different flavor than alot of other rappers, Watsky, ever heard of him? Anyways, what influenced you to start rapping and how did you really start it up?

wawasworld2 karma

Great question! I, too, started with just poetry! Love it and it works in so many ways. I started but feeling the beats to RUN DMC.. I was hooked and i would ask my sister to tell me what they were saying. She would Lip-sync and then write the lyrics down for me. I would have my hand on the speakers while she lip sync and I would read the lyric and was able to keep up. Lyrics became visual to me that I started writing... I learned to feel and listen to beats from other rappers. Studied them and worked on my own flow..that was a challenge. Keeping up with the rhythm. Took me a long time to work on it but I did it. As for Watsky...never heard of him. Got links for me to check?

ldamron2 karma

Interpreter here! I'm so excited to show this to my student tomorrow. He's a huge rap fan and I think it's important for him to have successful Deaf role models to look up to. He's just now starting to realize that Deaf people can do WHATEVER they put their mind to!

My question: what role models affected you and your path to success? Any advice for DHH kids that feel it's hard to follow their dreams?

wawasworld2 karma

I had people tell me to never give up o your dreams. Will always face plms but 2 mottos I live by.. 1) What doesn't kills you, makes you stronger and 2) Expect the unexpected. You have to take risk and grown from your mistakes. Only way to spread your wings is jump!

ETshuman2 karma

Wawa!!! This is Dru- a former lowly assistant in the Admissions office :) So excited for you with all that you've done!!!

How has the Deaf community reacted to you as a Deaf rapper/dancer/choreographer/etc? I remember you were very involved in the dance company on campus. Especially as a CI user who's a "public" Deaf figure. I can imagine that the reaction might be mixed. But keep it up! And I hope you'll do a performance in the Boston area soon :)

wawasworld1 karma

DRU! Goodness, it's been TOOOOO long! So great to hear from ya! Deaf community has been very accepting with what I do. They know I rep the deaf community. I've had a few people scolded me only because they were scared for me. After a bit of talking, it was all good! We would love to come out to Boston.. if there's an event or need a show.. reach us wawa.bandzoogle.com and click on contact. Fill out the form and my team will get back to ya within 24 to 48 hours! Thanks so much!

huge_ox2 karma

What's the origin of you starting wushu? Do you use it in your videos for any sort of choreography?

wawasworld2 karma

Origins of WUSHU? It from China.. soft style martial arts.. there are several famous people who does it. Jackie Chan is one of them. I haven't included in my videos yet but I will.. I mainly push American Sign Langauge in the music industry

wawasworld4 karma

I apologize for not reading it clearly. I started Wushu at age 5. I love Kung Fu! I used to watch and copy martial artist and felt it was a part of me. It is a part of me

huge_ox2 karma

No sorry. I worded that badly. What started you on the path of wushu

wawasworld2 karma

well I loved watching Kung fu theatre, growing up.. I started copying them and it drove my mom crazy! lol so she put me in class. the rest is history.. another thing it was a great way to vent my frustration of being bullied too!

Crookshanksmum2 karma

Hi Wawa! I've met you at Gallaudet before :-)

I have two questions:

  1. How can I get you to come to my school for the deaf to perform?

  2. Have you experienced the Deaf community ostracizing you for getting a CI? Can you share some experiences?

wawasworld1 karma

Howdy! wawa.bandzoogle.com Click on Contact and fill out the form. My team will get back to you within 48 hours. I haven't experienced ostracizing but I DID get a bit of scolding from a few people LOL! NO harm done, they were just scared for me. After I had a talk with them, they gave me their blessings!

PeaceProsper2 karma

I just gotta say that as a practically deaf person myself, I am SO proud of you for not letting anything get in your way of what you want to do. And you've accomplished quite a bit.

That song was awesome, you got talent.

So many questions:

1) How did you support yourself through college? 2) Have you ever experienced blatant discrimination or ignorance because you're deaf? 3) What is your ultimate goal with your music/dancing etc?

wawasworld4 karma

Thank you for this! I worked 2 jobs to get through college ( taught dance for a high school and I worked for campus activities at Gallaudet. On top that I was in 2 dance companies and actually was taking 15 - 18 credits for like 2 years. Crazy I know but I was determined. My ultimate goal? build a highway (NOT a road) for deaf artists, in the music industry... tearing down barriers.That must happen and we've just scratched the surface.

Discrimination or ignorance? YES, too many to count but here's one that'll make your mouth drop... Years ago, I auditioned for a company.. I wanted this person to rep me for shows and etc. I perform my rap and music. afetr I was done. he say " This can't be you, You're deaf?" I told him that i wrote and produced the music and my voice it what he heard on the tape". He didn't buy it, so I did another song... without the music. He said If you can find the person who rapped for you, I will sign him and you to my company." I told him that there's no one but ME on that tape and it's all me. His response " Impossible, I have a 5 year old niece who's deaf and she can't speak!" I said " You're comparing ME to a 5 year old!?!?' I told him to kiss my ass and I left! 3 years later, I was performing and he was there. He came up to me and told me to come to his office.. I told him " you can still kiss my ass".

WoodburyMN2 karma

Why do you talk like that?

wawasworld1 karma

Talk like what, exactly?

nadroj192 karma

Have you ever heard of the town of Wawa in Northern Ontario, Canada?

It has the largest statue of a Canadian goose in the world, and is extremely small. Linked below is the Wikipedia page of the community.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wawa,_Ontario

wawasworld2 karma

Thanks for this!Cool

KingKippah2 karma

Has he ever been to Wawa the store?

wawasworld3 karma

Dude, I'm from Philly!

KingKippah2 karma

Aw hell yeah! I was born there, I live in ohio now, I miss Wawa so much

wawasworld2 karma

lol I get it!

gkieran2 karma

So hearing aids enabled you to talk growing up right? Because you said you couldn't communicate until college which makes my wonder how you're so articulate and got into college in the first place

wawasworld3 karma

Hearing aids doesn't always enable you great speech or the sort. I know many deaf people who don't wear hearing aids and have great speech. You may think it's impossible but trust me, it's true. When I said I didn't communicate until college means that I was able to understand, maybe 40% of conversations and always felt left out. and that was on a daily basis! When learning signs.. it was a mind blown, door open for me! My mom and grandmother were the ones who taught me how to speak. I'm blessed with the ability to do some. there are deaf people who cannot speak and there are those who can

Unuhi2 karma

Do you read lips? (Or how well?) I imagine when you can understand just 30-40% of spoken word around you would be a bit like when living in another language. Like if everyone around you were speaking in French but you only know English. Would that kind of make sense as a comparison?

How much can you hear with your CI? From voices etc. Can you tell what direction a sound comes from?

You have a beautiful voice by the way :) (I'm a big sucker of nice voices. I also like many deaf or unusual accents because it makes it a lot easier to recognize someone from voice).

Have you ever thought about acting? It'd be cool to have more deaf actors - and as actors who just happen to be deaf even if the role they are playing wasn't written for a deaf person.

wawasworld1 karma

Thanks for the sweet comment! Yes, I can read lips... that takes alot of practice too. Your example is a great and accurate analogy. Before my CI the best sound I could hear, was an airplane CLOSE to me. That would sound normal whereas it's extremely hurtful for hearing people. That type of sound can actually make people ear bleed but bother me none! Now with a CI, It's amazing. Can a whole lot more but it doesn't mean i understand everything. Does that make sense?

katacarbix2 karma

Is your name a reference to the Helen Keller's Miracle story? If so that's hilarious

wawasworld1 karma

No, it's not related at all. Sorry

PMmeifyourepooping2 karma

Congratulations on everything you've done! I'm majoring in ASL interpreting and I love it so much. How long did it take you to pick up sign at GU?

wawasworld4 karma

AWESOME!! I was in a program called New Signers Program. 3 week program before college classes begins. It was wwwwwoooorrrrttthh it!! note: I didn't know any signs at all! They had 5 groups,A,B,C,D,E. .. A is a class where no one knows signs. E is a class where people know signs but SEE (Sign Exact English). Now being a 3 week program, I jumped from A -D in 3 DAYS! That's how much I was craving for communication!! Gallaudet University is where I got my start.

meltedcandy2 karma

I've visited Gallaudet! Beautiful campus. And I loved the idea of the movie nights in the auditorium where they have like a specialized sound system so you can sort of feel the sound. So cool

wawasworld2 karma

Yes, it's amazing!

dabadydab2 karma

How has being deaf affected your music career?

wawasworld2 karma

Not surer if i follow.. are you asking if it caused plms for me in the music industry?

dabadydab2 karma

For the industry

wawasworld9 karma

OK...mainly the music world keep saying " the world isn't ready for deaf folks. Some people would even say " deaf people don't like music" NOT true! So by working hard on my art, speech (with a fantastic team), you'll be surprised what deaf people can do! I've been doing this for a long time and I've heard all the negative things about how deaf can't do this or do that. It's crazy!!! I've been called crazy. Had people say there's no way a deaf person will make it. even joked on! I'm here to deprogram the myths about us and reprogram you with facts.

Candroth4 karma

'the world isn't ready for deaf folks'

'no way a deaf person will make it'

I'm so glad you didn't listen to that bullshit.

wawasworld2 karma

AMEN!

dabadydab1 karma

If you had a chance to say one thing to all those people you referred to and all of your haters at once what would you say

wawasworld2 karma

To those who showed da love! I'm gonna keep grinding for ya! To the haters... keep watching cuz I'm busy showin love to those who loves me!

dabadydab2 karma

Well you just gained a fan and someone who is now going to go listen to all of your music

wawasworld2 karma

Humbled and thank you!

MattBaster2 karma

Have you ever considered calling yourself the original DEF Rapper?

wawasworld6 karma

Good question and no, i never consider myself that at all. I'm very sure there are others who came before me. and there are a few out there right now. as for DEF or DEAF.. i tell people I'm a rapper who happens to be deaf. I'm proud of that

Dannah5733 karma

Mos deaf

wawasworld4 karma

awesome!

greyk472 karma

In college, my roommate's sister taught asl, had a lot of deaf friends and was even married to a deaf guy, so I got the chance to hang with members of the deaf community and even learn a little asl.

I remember them telling me about how they listen to music as a concert or something and how they really could feel the bass and rhythm sections. Does this factor into your production? Do you try to make music that is more accessible to deaf people?

wawasworld1 karma

Absolutely! It's a must for me! I love feeling the bass and it keeps my in sync with the music. GREAT question!

ziburinis2 karma

Have you thought of a good answer to when hearing people walk up to you and say "I can sign my name!" followed by them fingerspelling it? If I'm in a particularly bad mood I say "Good boy (or girl)!" and pat them on the head. If I'm in a better mood I will explain to them "That's nice, but it's not useful to me. It's like you telling me you can spell your name in Russian Cyrillic because my last name is Russian (note, this is an example, my last name isn't Russian). Knowing to spell your name is completely non useful to me, do you understand why hearing people are so proud to be able to spell their name in fingerspelling?

wawasworld4 karma

I encounter this often! Sometimes, I would say "Great, now keep studying!" OR I would quickly say " Great, I nee dto to interpret for me right now!" That makes them freak out and say "WHOA! I only know just my name!" Then I'd say if you become deaf, right now.. would that be the only thing you want to learn?" That gets them thinkin hard and twice before approaching deaf folks again. It's a teaching moment, not an insult.

kholakoolie2 karma

Insightful and constructive!

wawasworld1 karma

I try!

Teslablade2 karma

What style of kung fu?

wawasworld2 karma

Eagles Form under Grand Master Dennis Brown in Washington, DC Area.

DisplayofCharacter2 karma

I dunno if you're a sports fan or not (just got introduced to your work man, great stuff!) but have you reached out to Connor Barwin who currently plays on the Eagles? He was born like 90% deaf or something like that and is very active in Philly with community service and in the music scene (different genre though). I obviously don't know him personally but from what I've read he's a super chill dude and you both seem to love music a lot (along with being deaf) and I think that's awesome!

I grew up in southern NJ and Philly is my home city, don't live there anymore (on the west coast now) but if you're ever touring out here I'll be there! Much love.

wawasworld2 karma

This is the first time I've heard about Connor! Geez, I'm stoked now!! I'll check his page and would love to meet him. Thanks for this! BTW, My family and I are football freaks!

erock2555552 karma

Connor has full hearing in one ear.

wawasworld1 karma

I read about that... cool

DisplayofCharacter2 karma

You're welcome man! He seems to be pretty active on Twitter if you wanna try a DM, from what I've read and heard from other Eagles fans he's a super nice guy so I don't think it would hurt and it sure seems like you guys have a lot in common. Best of luck in the future with your rapping man, I think what you're doing is awesome.

wawasworld1 karma

Thanks! I've added and tweeted him. I hope he response. Thanks so much for the comment! I'll keep grinding to make this work>

yengerme2 karma

Do you believe in God?

Gevil702 karma

So do you I guess "feel" the beat of music differently because you won't hear it the same way as most musicians? Like is there any real difference and if so does it help?

wawasworld2 karma

ya know that's an interesting question. Feeling the beat wont be the same as hearing it but the rhythm is the same. Does that make sense. I guess it's a tempo thing.

Gevil702 karma

Okay, I get what you mean.

wawasworld2 karma

COOL!

Justiku2 karma

Favorite rapper and why? What is that memory that you forever hold on to.

wawasworld2 karma

https://youtu.be/GxyhLyiTZds

Thank you for the questions, here is your video response!

wawasworld1 karma

Video comment incoming!

bosprov1 karma

Hey Wawa! If you didn't have your hearing aids or CI growing up, do you think you would've had a different life? Better or worse?

wawasworld2 karma

Good Question! yes, I'd be in a different field! Doctor, Teacher or an actor (3 main goals). I grew up with hearing aids but it just doesn't stop me from getting what I want. I never think for the worse.. how is it worse... everyone in this world has a different type of disability. would you let it stop you?

DrunkAssBum1 karma

Can you hear my text?

wawasworld1 karma

say what?

lateemo1 karma

Hi, what wushu style do you prefer?

wawasworld1 karma

Eagle. I was trained under Grandmaster Dennis Brown in the Washington, DC area, and that was his specialty. He's really an amazing man.

PM_me1bitcoin1 karma

Have you used those gloves that convert asl into spoken English?

wawasworld1 karma

nope...

onamad11 karma

Did being deaf make you connect more with the written word and dance as ways to express yourself? Do you think you would still be so creative if it wasn't for this?

wawasworld1 karma

You don't need to be deaf to be creative... Creativity comes from inside and outside you. Disability has nothing to do with it but for you to mold it to your likeness.

monsignorrobotica1 karma

Keep on dream chasing, and always keep them hands down! Glad to see someone else from the i 95 route make it!

I once saw a wu-tang performance on youtube where this lady was doing all the sign language and really moving with the music. Have you ever had someone doing sign language while you perform?

Also, I read a comment about working with blind fury, and with you having a wushu background, I immediately thought of you two forming up like that one kung fu flick... what was the name of it?!?!

wawasworld1 karma

LOL I get it! I sign my songs while I perform. Because hearing folks can hear the voice on the tracks so signing give a total access for the deaf to understand. I strongly believe in that. There are other deaf rappers have different methods. One does both signs and voice. Another signs and has someone to voice for him. This give a wide berth to under how we can do things. No limitations!

I recall that flick you're talking bout but the title eludes me!

Dannah5731 karma

Have you watched the documentary "sound and fury?" What's you opinion of the effect of CI on deaf culture?

Also, as someone who didn't grow up in deaf culture, do you ever feel like an outsider amongst deaf people?

wawasworld5 karma

I recall watching to but can't remember much of it. My opinion of the effect of CI on deaf culture. Really, it's history thing... years ago people was really against the "box" hearing aid screaming foul.. trying to fix us and tryin to become hearing etc.. as more people got them.. it started to become more acceptable.. then the BTE ( behind the ear) aids... once again people went crazy citing foul... hate it and such... then that started to become more acceptable years later.. NOW with the CI it's the same thing all over again. People needs to understand, at the end of the day when any of those device comes off your head, you're DEAF! Now, I was totally against CI, years ago and I thought it just wasn't up to par. There were reports of deaths, chronic headaches and etc. Drs were telling folks it's the "cure" ( mind you this was years ago). deaf people sort felt like they was in a automobile factory line! Crazy! Years later, technology has improved a great deal but the myths about CI still stands strong in the deaf community.

Now, after 3 years of researching... it was hard for me but I believe I've made the best choice for ME!..

Also, no I've never felt like an outsider among deaf people... Deaf folks were so open and accepting towards me! It's family.

cobaltcollapse1 karma

A lot of rappers/singers say they hear a lot of things in their songs (Heard 'Em Say, etc.), but you literally can't hear. Has that been an obstacle in your songwriting, not being able to say you heard something?

wawasworld4 karma

Never been an obstacle at all... even in deaf culture we would say " I heard that..." it's can be "heard" visually through ASL.. we SEE what you're saying through Sign Language.

iamjacksprofile1 karma

Why do black people like Kung Fu so much? Is this influenced by Wu-Tang clan in the 90s?

OzymandiasKoK2 karma

Duh. The Last Dragon, sho nuff!

wawasworld1 karma

LOL

wawasworld2 karma

Actually it started WAY before that! I can't speak for black people in general but for me it was poetry in motion. Expressing my frustration through WUSHU help me a great deal.

iamjacksprofile2 karma

Have you done any other martial arts?

wawasworld2 karma

Well I've done Capoeira for a year. I wanna go back.

DirkDiggler4691 karma

Do you have trouble with people taking you seriously as a rapper because of you're deaf?

wawasworld3 karma

Before I started.... yeah.. afterward, they're like "DAMN!!Where have you been all my life!?!?" Gotta keep educating folks

ConfidentBullshitter1 karma

Why do kids love cinnamon toast crunch?

wawasworld6 karma

Because Cinnamon toast crunch likes to keep things spicy!!!

jamjam10901 karma

Who would you say inspired you the most to take up this awesome career?

wawasworld2 karma

I was always challenged or bullied but I always pushed on... who really inspired me was Run DMC...major!

farhadd21 karma

Does Mos Def know about you? Not that I'm tryin to start beef

wawasworld2 karma

lol Nope, I would love to meet Mos Def though! Bro is an icon in my eyes!

dissenter_the_dragon1 karma

two questions. R.I.P Pimp C, but who was the better duo; Outkast or UGK? second question; before you got a spot in his video, were you aware that Maxwell still had a career? in 2016?

wawasworld2 karma

OUTKAST!!HANDS DOWN! Yes, I was aware about Maxwell and his career. He was quiet but he was gaining momentum. He knew where he was going! He's awesome!

dissenter_the_dragon2 karma

Fair enough. Fair enough. I'm still surprised about Maxwell. I remember listening to his first joint 20 years ago while I was still in middle school.

my man Max is still going, and that's cool. Goodluck, I'll be listening/watching for you.

wawasworld1 karma

Thanks so much, I appreciate it!

jtbenscoter-3 karma

Does it bug you that you prove there's no talent in rap?

wawasworld3 karma

No, it doesn't bug me. I don't have time to worry about it. I have a message for everyone and that's to tell you that Deaf folks CAN do this and more. There are other deaf recording artists, out there, who can show you what they have. I'm one of them and proud. We want to put deaf artists on the map. No time to dwell on other nonsense.

Meepm00p-4 karma

What?

wawasworld7 karma

lol shocking eh? yeah, i know... deaf rappers DO exist.