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Amazon Music Live Ensures Deaf Audiences are Fully Welcomed and Included

November 21, 2023
Source: RespectAbility

Star ASL interpreters dazzle again in the second season of Amazon Music Live (AML), a weekly concert series hosted by award-winning rapper 2 Chainz and broadcast live from Los Angeles on Prime Video after Thursday Night Football (9:00 p.m. PT | 12:00 a.m. ET). Artists like Kane Brown, Ed Sheeran, and Asap Rocky have graced the AML stage alongside specially selected Amber G Productions interpreters and performers including Justina Miles, Martise Colston, and Matthew Maxey.

While these performances are typically on Thursdays from Los Angeles, this week, due to Thanksgiving, AML will air on Nov. 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 p.m. PT this week, on Prime Video and Twitch, following the Miami Dolphins – New York Jets game. Garth Brooks is slated to headline, livestreamed from the grand opening of his new downtown Nashville Bar, Friends in Low Places Bar & Honky-Tonk. Brooks will be performing new music live for the first time.

All season, Amber Galloway, a sign language interpreter specializing in the interpretation of concerts and music festivals, is at the helm of securing on-screen interpreting talent for the star-studded series. Galloway, who herself is Hard of Hearing, has committed her selection of interpreters and performers to spotlight almost solely Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing interpreters for the concert series.

“Early in my career, I saw a Deaf dance group called The Wild Zappers, and I realized that was what music should look like,” said Galloway in prep for the show. “Fans in the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community deserve an experience that matches the artist’s performance, and that means interpreters need to move with musicality and match the vibe of the show—not just interpret the words like they would on a conference call.”

The performances are masterfully split screened to offer ease of access for viewers as they enjoy the show, either during a live broadcast or later on demand. The feeling of the performance is electric. It’s like being taken on a roller coaster. In a conversation with RespectAbility, Galloway’s enthusiasm for the natural symbiosis of music and performative ASL is contagious too. Her bold endorsement for access for all has certainly changed how folks connect to music itself.

“I love the connection we have with people,” Galloway said. “Of what it makes us feel, the emotions that are invoked, but not just emotions, but the memories that come from that and the connections you have with another human during those experiences you have with music.”

When asked about her own musical interests, Galloway hesitates, lamenting about the wild variety of artists that have been a touchstone for her: Queen Latifah is chief among them.

“In my childhood, she was a hero to me,” Galloway shared. “She was such a strong and powerful woman. She spoke out about powerful things as a woman. She kind of made her place in a very hard genre.”

One might say the same for Galloway herself. Her impact in ensuring access within the entertainment industry is very apparent. “My biggest goal, I think, is to try to convince, or teach, or expose, the world to access, to tell them: create all of your events from the inception, with people that are disabled in mind.”

When asked about future plans for expanding in the creative industry, Galloway brings it back home to her mission for access. “[Deaf individuals] taught me everything, A-Z, so we were signing music in my kitchen, literally every Friday night at parties. And the outside world would say Deaf people don’t like music, but I knew that to not be true because I was literally living and breathing it every Friday night.”

To experience the dynamic performances, tune in live using your Amazon video app, or watch later with the recorded performance. While this Friday’s concert will be the last for season two, there are plans to continue expanding in the future, featuring both big names and emerging artists.

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