Expanding Musical Inclusivity
Representing and Re-presenting Musicking in Deaf Culture through Hip Hop
Products such as headphones, music streaming platforms, and learning assessments foster a hearing-centric realization of music that places auditory senses at the forefront of musical experience. Yet within the context of Deaf culture, a linguistic minority defined by the use of sign language, music takes on new meaning as musical experience is expanded to other senses of the body. Despite this relative construction, music in Deaf culture has been subjugated to a hegemonic ideology that undermines and marginalizes Deaf experiences of sound. However, Deaf musicians have been able to work toward subverting the ideological limitations that have been placed on their music, and by extension their bodies, by adapting musical structures produced by mainstream society and realigning them toward Deaf priorities. Using ethnographic methods including artist interviews, this chapter investigates how Deaf rappers have created a style of hip hop that prioritizes Deaf experiences of sound over hearing ones and considers how, through performance, they subvert hegemonic control over Deaf musical expression and promote the inclusion of Deaf forms of musicking.