In the background are the playing field and a giant screen on which Rihanna, the 2023 Super Bowl halftime entertainment show performer is seen singing. Dressed in black, in front of one of the stadium cameras, is Justina Miles, the American Sign Language (ASL), snapping her fingers in a particular way to interpret Bitch better have my money that viral song by the artist known as the diamond of Barbados that plays on stage at the moment.
The Woman Post | Jennyfer Solano
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Justina Miles's interpretation caused millions of comments on social networks, and in an entertainment short time, it became a trend. The 20-year-old was the first hearing-impaired African-American to perform as the American Sign Language Interpreter at the Super Bowl halftime show.
Although few people knew about Justina Miles before the Super Bowl, it is not the first time she has gone viral for her work as a sign translator on social media. Her charisma, enthusiasm, and particular way of putting rhythm to songs with sign language have impacted the world. Her overwhelming personality has a stop to racism and discrimination on several occasions.
"I value the opportunity to make it possible for all deaf people to enjoy these songs and not miss out on the full Super Bowl experience," Miles told CNBC.
#Crushonyouchallenge, the TikTok challenge
The first time Justina Miles went viral on social media was in 2020 when she performed a TikTok dance challenge to Lil'Kim's song Crush on you. Justina Miles translated the song into English sign language and became a trend on Twitter for the unique way in which she interpreted that entertainment song.
In that video she uploaded on TikTok, she was shown dancing to the song and changing his clothes and makeup. Lil'Kim herself posted the Justina Miles video on her Instagram story.
The Philadelphia native Justina Miles also won a silver medal as part of the women's 4x1000m track relay team during the Brazil 2022 Deaflympics, representing her country, the United States.
In addition, Miles was the valedictorian at Model High School for the Deaf in Washington D. C. and is currently studying nursing at HBCU Bowie State University in Maryland. During high school, she played volleyball, was a cheerleader, and ran track.
A voice that puts a stop to discrimination
In 2020, the Billy Penn portal reported that Miles was not yet deaf. It indicated that she suffered hearing loss, but it was already noticeable that her hearing was deteriorating. Mile's mother is also deaf, although several of her relatives are hearing people.
The young woman is recognized today for her performance in the Super Bowl but talking about her daily life she has also been a person who curbs discrimination, feels proud of her roots, and proclaims a message of ethnic empowerment. "Sometimes I've been with my friends in D.C., talking sign language, and there are ignorant people who mock us and make fun of us. We are deaf, not blind," she claimed.
Justina Miles seems not to care about people's negative comments. She sent a message to all black women: "I want them to see that they can do anything." She also commented in 2020, she heard racist comments against her to which she proudly replied: “I am a black woman. Yes sir, I'm from Philly".
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