The Internet Is Obsessed With The ASL Interpreter At The Super Bowl

He was barely visible during the opening of Super Bowl LV. But a few seconds of his enthusiastic ASL interpretation of "The Star Spangled Banner" and "America the Beautiful" was all it took for Warren "Wawa" Snipe to eclipse Grammy nominees Jazmine Sullivan, Eric Church, and H.E.R. in the eyes of social media. One Twitter enthused: "The super bowl performers' ASL interpreter wins MVP for the night." Another said: "The ASL interpreter for the anthem at the Super Bowl is probably my favorite person ever." Snipe struck a chord with so many viewers, more than a few also took to social media to complain about the lack of exposure: "It bugs me that they have an ASL interpreter for the Super Bowl, and they introduce them, but then only show them on screen for about 5 seconds." 

Snipe is both a trailblazer and a celebrity in the world of Dip Hop, or "Hip Hop through deaf eyes" (via The National Association of the Deaf). His appearance isn't particularly ground-breaking since ASL has been a part of Super Bowl games since 1992. But no one might have seen anything quite like this, because Snipe says ASL interpreters usually base their interpretations on the way the songs are sung. "My approach will follow how this year's singers handle the songs in their own way," he told CBS News.

Snipes has always wanted to perform in the Super Bowl

Warren Snipe is a football fan, and the performance isn't just a dream to watch, it was a goal he'd always hoped to fulfill someday. "It was always my dream to perform at the Super Bowl," he says.

While some viewers might have wondered why there was a need for the national anthem and "America the Beautiful" to be interpreted into ASL, Snipe says having an ASL interpreter sing the old classics reflects a need for accessibility. "The Deaf and Hard of Hearing community needs access to these iconic songs just like everyone else.To those who are hearing, try watching television with the sound and captions off, and you'll experience inaccessibility," he explains.

Snipe still has one more item he needs to take off his bucket list: the chance to do the ASL interpretation for a future Super Bowl halftime show. And if his recent performance is a sign, he'll blow us away with that, too.