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Overview

Music videos that incorporate American Sign Language (ASL) in the performance reach viral status when uploaded into social media platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. The impact of a viral video can bring many benefits, as it is a tool deaf performers use to promote their stance against audism.

They do this by demonstrating that their ability to hear does not affect their ability to make works of art. However, disadvantages present themselves when sign language’s novelty boosts video virality over raising awareness about the sign language’s culture.

Hearing students in ASL classes sometimes practice their vocabulary knowledge by signing the lyrics of well-known songs. This triggered a surplus of “ASL” music videos. Also, Deaf performers make ASL music videos that maintain cultural and linguistic integrity in their work, but are not as successful at going viral.

That reflection projects the individual attractions toward a particular aesthetics that produced an ASL music video.

This study will also explore deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing young adults’ attitudes towards the variety of representation of deaf culture in viral ASL music videos. Because in the end, an accurate reflection of the deaf biodiversity shown on screen, the better the representation may be upon deaf individuals in the future.

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ASL Music Videos: Audience, Aesthetics, and Culture

Felicia Williams

Kenneth De Haan

202-250-2043

202-448-7067

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