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Boston Deaf Youth Connect with Hip Hop History

Updated: Feb 18, 2022

All photos of DEAFinitely, Inc. performing at Boston Children’s Museum on January 20, 2020, courtesy of Kathy Wittman/Ball Square Films.


ASL accessible workshop on the elements of hip hop history & culture

CAMBRIDGE, MA - Tuesday, August 3, 2021 from 2:00pm-4:30pm -- DEAFinitely, Inc. will partner with diversified Deaf and hearing hip hop and Bboy dancers, Graffiti artists and DJ, at The Complex @ Canal to convey the rich history and culture of hip hop to Deaf youth in Boston.

A team of talented Boston-based artists will join DEAFinitely dancers Felicia McGinnis, John Ying, and Deaf DJ, Andres Robinson to deliver this interactive experience. Partners include world Bboy champion, Alex Diaz of The Floor Lords, an organization that uses hip hop dance to empower youth; Ramiro Vaughan, a street wise dancer and instructor of many styles; Roscoe Studio, Graffiti artist and pioneer in combining talent with fine art and technology and Julius Gordon, a graduate at Mass College of Art. The event will be documented by Rajay Raman, a Deaf videographer and Assistant Producer at Morpheyes Studio at National Technical Institute for the Deaf (RIT).

As a performing arts group in Boston, the DEAFinitely Performance Crew consists of Deaf and hearing youth ages 7-14 from multi-lingual, cultural, racial, and socio-economic diversity. The Performance Crew is part of DEAFinitely, Inc., a non-profit with the mission to empower youth to impact social change through dance, American Sign Language and mentoring. This workshop will offer DEAFinitely youth the first opportunity to learn the fundamentals of hip hop in their primary language: American Sign Language.

“Hip Hop was created by marginalized people who struggled to express themselves. Being Deaf, I relate to that struggle.

Bboying helped me to express myself and

really discover who I am in my identity.

I want to mentor Deaf youth, share my journey and help them with their self-expression.”

- John Ying, DEAFinitely Deaf Bboy Coach

The Complex @ Canal is an arts, movement, and creativity lab. In 2021, BioMed Realty provided funding for the space to encourage unique voices in performance, especially artists who are BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ and those with disabilities. DEAFinitely, Inc. will host this workshop at The Complex @ Canal, with funding from the John W. Alden Trust, which supports organizations that focus on the needs of children and the Boston Cultural Council, which funds innovative arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences programming.

“Once we have communication equity, the Deaf community has so much to

contribute to the dance world...there's a rich Deaf history, culture and language.

We want to participate fully and reciprocate with others in the arts.”

- Felicia McGinnis, DEAFinitely Deaf Dance Coach

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