Justina Miles Makes History With Rihanna Super Bowl Performance in ASL

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Justina Miles was shining bright like a diamond at the 2023 Super Bowl.

The 20-year-old became the first female deaf performer for the Super Bowl halftime show after she provided the American Sign Language rendition of Rihanna‘s performance on Feb. 12. As viewers watched the 13-minute show, they took to social media to suggest that Miles take a bow. 

“Rihanna of course was [fire],” one social media user tweeted. “But let’s take a moment for #JustinaMiles! First female deaf performer and damn…she owned it! #SuperBowlLVII #ASL.” Added another, “Shout out to Justina Miles #ASL #SuperBowl #RihannaSuperBowl #Rihanna.”

However, this wasn’t Miles’ only history-making moment of the night. While Sheryl Lee Ralph was singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” Miles signed the song, making it the first-time ever there was an ASL rendition of it at the Super Bowl.

During an Apple Music Halftime Show press conference on Feb. 9, Miles shared what it meant to her to perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing” in ASL.

“That song represents resilience for me,” she noted through an ASL interpreter. “The national anthem never really resonated with me personally, and the Black national anthem is really inspiring and empowering. This song is so positive, it’s so beautiful and you don’t really hear or see it very often or even hear about it. And there’s many folks who don’t even know the Black national anthem exists. It’s not only for me to share this experience with the whole world, but to really bring that empowerment to millions and millions of Black, deaf people all over the country who’ve never really seen that before.”

Miles added, “And so they should feel inspired and that’s the same way I feel. I feel like that is truly lifting every voice, even my voice.”

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