Chance the Rapper wants all of his fans to get the most out of his shows—especially those with hearing impairments.
Prior to performing in Tampa, Florida, earlier this week, the 24-year-old Chicago artist announced he has hired American Sign Language interpreters for the remainder of his Be Encouraged Tour. The group hired for the job is Atlanta-based DEAFinitely Dope, an organization founded by Matthew Maxey with the goal of uniting “the hearing and deaf communities through music and signing.”
According to CBS affiliate WTSP 10 News, Chance is the first rapper to hire his own ASL interpreters for a tour.
"We've all been close to tears since we met him, because we just can't believe that he's willing to provide interpreters on his own," interpreter Kelly Kurdi told 10 News.
Kurdi, who is now on the road with Chance, explained many deaf or hard-of-hearing concert-goers are forced to bring their own interpreter, or request one from the venue.
Maxey, who is also a hard-of-hearing individual, joined Chance in a Facebook video to announce the big news:
“We will have interpreters at the show, which will be a new thing going forward, to help everybody experience the show,” he said in the backstage video, as Maxey interpreted. “If you know anyone that’s deaf or hard-of-hearing please invite them to the show. We just want to turn up."
Chance also provided 50 free front row tickets to hard-of-hearing attendees for the Tampa show. The Be Encouraged Tour will wrap up on Oct. 20 in Phoenix.