One of the most talked about music videos this month came from Andy Mineo. He created a song dedicated to his sister called “Hear my Heart,” which was on his Uncomfortable album. He released the video during International Deaf Week, which falls in Deaf Awareness Month. In the video, he uses American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate to those who may not be able to hear his vocals. He also uses a brilliant use of visuals to show the instrumentation of the song.
In the song Andy Mineo mentions a lot of experiences he has had and I have felt many of the same feelings with my parents who are both deaf/mute. He discusses how he spend his whole childhood not learning how to communicate with her. I had the same experience growing up with deaf parents. I had a hard time communicating with them due to the lack of knowledge of ASL. Andy talks about going to his nephews graduation and not understanding what was being said. When I was 12, I went with my parents to a homecoming game at the School for the Deaf. They both attended here in NC. There were so many deaf people around me trying to converse and I unfortunately was unequipped to communicate back.
These are actually typical occurrences in families with deaf family members. Deaf children are typically sent to residential schools where they are surrounded by those who sign. The hearing family members usually do not develop the level of signing needed to communicate in the same way as their deaf family member. Children with deaf parents also have a hard time learning sign without having help from others who can speak with them and help them learn. At 27 years old, I still have much I can learn. I learn some new words from time to time, but ASL is more than just vocabulary. It takes a lot of time and practice to be able to sign ASL fluently. I thank Andy Mineo for bringing this message to many who may not be aware and I hope it is an inspiration to others with deaf family members as it has been an influence to myself.
My podcast partner and I discussed this a little more on our new show called the Solomons Porch Podcast. Listen here for more info on this whole subject. For the conversation on this, skip to 18:05 of the podcast.