Profile On Matthew Maxey: Bringing Music To The Deaf Community
Matt Maxey is the founder of DEAFinitely Dope, an organisation that brings music to the deaf community through sign language. DEAFinitely Dope was created in 2014 as a way to provide support to those that felt marginalised and ignored by mainstream America. Starting as a brand, DEAFinitely Dope blossomed into a movement when it reached nationwide educational institutions and a number of high profile media and TV platforms. With both hearing and deaf partnerships in play, Matt strives to continue to break barriers and defy the norms with a fresh perspective on interaction, inclusion and equality, as awareness continues to grow.
The need for accessibility
Accessibility and inclusion is a topic that is gaining momentum in recent times after being overlooked for far too long. Making art accessible for a broader and more inclusive audience is becoming more widely addressed by artists and organisations alike; we’ve recently had conversations with The Smith Center about their accessibility programme, spoken with TDF to find out more about their accessibility training, and gained insights from sensory friendly theatre company Cahoots NI. All of these companies and organisations are working towards making theatre performances more widely available for everyone.
The DEAFinitely Dope world is one where limitations between communication and cultural understanding are few and far between.
“Our goal is to provide a platform where deaf people of all ages as well as hearing people willing to take the plunge into the world of ASL can unite under a brand that shows YOU’RE NOT ALONE. We set the standard of the unity we want to encourage with a deaf man and hearing woman working together to provide a symbol that represents two cultures meshing together through a love of music. We want to inspire families, co-workers, classmates and more to learn sign language in anticipation of better communication one community at a time, while providing the resources in making the ASL learning experience more appealing and enjoyable!”
Matt Maxey and Hip-hop
Matt Maxey specialises in signing ASL with hip-hop music, and found himself a pioneer in the genre and interpreting the music in new ways. Speaking to theundefeated.com back in 2017 about being hired to sign for Grammy-winning musician Chance the Rapper, Maxey explained:
“Hip-hop has long been a favourite for the deaf community because of the beats, bass, and being hip, but they’ve never seen anybody truly emulate how the hearing world acts, talks, and expresses themselves and it’s understandable in sign language. Chance the Rapper bringing on DEAFinitely Dope and being the first rapper to have his own personal interpreters, just makes me extremely happy because I personally feel like our mission has been to break barriers in the community, in society, in perspectives and stereotypes. To have an artist with the same beliefs, working with a deaf and hearing-impaired reflective of what he strives for, it’s truly a beautiful movement and social change to be a part of.”
DEAFinitely Dope services and online course
The company have definitely paved the way and raised the profile of sign language in recent years, encouraging others to follow suit in the music and Arts world. DEAFinitely Dope provide a broad range of services including visually artistic interpreting for music, motivational speaking, workshops, fundraisers, performances, ASL consulting, and minority advancement.
Additionally, there is an Airbnb Online Experience hosted by Matt for Sign Language With Music For Beginners. The lessons last for 60 minutes and are available for up to 10 people or for private groups available for up to 30. The experience is suitable for beginners to expert levels, and is a safe environment for all to get an authentic experience from Deaf professionals.
The experience is tailor-made to fit each person that signs up to learn, and Matt promises that “you will leave this experience in much better spirits than you arrived with!” You can book your online experience here.