The Co-option of Deaf Talent® Movement (2012)©
The Deaf Talent® Movement, founded by the first Black Deaf Filmmaker/Activist, Jade Bryan in 2012, is a social and cultural icon centralized on spreading awareness about the lack of representation of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) in television and film. However, Black Deaf actors, writers, producers, and Black Deaf stories are the most overlooked in getting recognition in film and television. This movement began on multiple online and real-life platforms, starting with social media. Jade Bryan created a social media platform by using Twitter and Facebook to spread awareness of the need for better representation in television and film before moving her movement to the streets. (See press release from 2012)
A close-knit of Black and POC Deaf Activists from the Deaf community and actors cast in Jade Bryan’s film, The Shattered Mind, (formerly known as The Double Life of Zhane Rain), met up and campaigned in the streets. The movement lasts for several weeks from summer through the fall. New allies joined us and demonstrated peaceful assemblies with picket signs in front of the Hollywood Networks; BET, MTV, NBC, Tyler Perry Studios, CNN, HBO, and, AMC.
The movement was also incorporated with Jade Bryan’s Kickstarter campaign to raise money for The Shattered Mind, about a Black Deaf family. From 2015-2017, The Shattered Mind film has toured 47 film festivals around the world and won 17 awards.
“Deaf Talent®" as a phrase can refer to a Twitter hashtag, a slogan, a brand, a statement, a movement, and a campaign. Deaf Talent® is a cultural icon. #DeafTalentsofColor, #POCDeafTalent, #DeafTalent®, #DeafTalents, #BlackDeafTalent, #LGBTQDeafTalent, and #EthnicityofDeafTalent were also coined by Jade Bryan.
Underrepresented and marginalized people Deaf actors continue to be oppressed by being overlooked and gatekeeping them away from getting opportunities, acting work, recognition, and advancing in their own careers in film and television because of white privilege in Hollywood and the white Deaf community. There needs to be a stronger culture of inclusion alongside race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, Deafness when it comes to Black and POC Deaf talent and BIPOC writers.
In Netflix’s Deaf U, an eight-episode show follows seven main characters: four White women, two Black men, and one White man. Throughout all eight episodes, not a single Black Deaf female appeared as the main cast, except they were served as prop fillers in the background. This lack of representation extends beyond the cast. Deaf U has one hearing Black woman serving as a supervising producer. Hardly seeing ourselves represented on the screen is woefully inadequate because Black and POC and disabled people are an essential part of the human experience.
Since the inception of the Deaf Talent movement in 2012, there has been a gradual growth of Black and POC Deaf Talent hired as writers, producers, consultants, and TV creators in Hollywood in front of and behind the camera. (See article references at the end)
During the summer of 2019, Jade Bryan filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to reclaim the hashtag trademark so no one can use it without her permission and without honoring the purpose of the hashtag. The fact that Jade Bryan is a Black Deaf woman, had to trademark her hashtag as a result of racism and misogynoir in the Deaf community.
The purpose of the Deaf Talent® is the following:
1) to elevate the awareness of deaf talents who identify as POC, Black, and other ethnicities, including those with other intersectional identities (i.e. LGBT+),
2) to increase the numbers of deaf talents who identify as POC, Black, and other ethnicities, including those with other intersectional identities (LGBT+) in front of and behind the camera,
3) to eradicate discriminatory biases that lead to exclusion of Black, POC, and other ethnicities, including those with other intersectional identities (i.e. LGBT+),
4) to promote opportunities for equal employment of deaf talents who identify as Black, POC, and other ethnicities, including those with other intersectional identities (LGBT+) in film and television.
5) to address the misrepresentation of our work to achieve the aforementioned goals (or objectives/mission), and
6 ) to promote public awareness of the need for accessibility in entertainment.
Community Support Concerning the #DeafTalent® Hashtag
The History of #BlackDeafTalent, #POCDeafTalent, and #BlackDeafFilms. How the movement has started. #BetterDeafCommunity by Maisha Franklin-Safford Source: (Facebook)
Meet the Deaf Filmmaker who started a movement
Open Letter to Convo by Maisha Franklin-Safford
Salt and Pepper Analogy by activist, Antines Davis
Reggie Bess called out Regan Thibodeau, a white deaf oppressor.
He explained why Black people (hearing/deaf) don’t often get enough recognition for their work in an array of fields. Source: (Facebook)
Quote and statements by supporter from the Deaf Community.
Black Deaf People are brilliant creative thinkers by activist, Adrienne Brown Gravish
Deaf Actor, James T. McGowan's platform regarding #DeafTalent Movement
Deaf Filmmaker, Martha Anger's platform regarding #DeafTalent Movement
The Rise of Black & POC Deaf Talent® in Film, Television & Theater
Black Deaf Actor, On Black Lightning, Season Two! Interview With Warren Snipe
Source: (Krip Hop Nation)
Deaf Actor Wawa lands role in CW series "Black Lightning" (ASL - 8.26.18) Sign 1 News
Source: Sign1News (YouTube)
One of the most emotional moments on 'The Walking Dead's' season premiere is inspired by a star's progressive hearing loss and a line her mother told her
The Truth About Angel Theory
Source: (The Netline)
Find talented individuals represented by Bloc New York City.
Source: (Bloc Agency)
Lauren Ridloff’s Quiet Power: ‘My Life Has Changed in Every Way’
Why Everyone's Talking About Lauren Ridloff, Marvel's First Deaf Superhero
Source: (Oprah Mag)
Source: (Ability Magazine)
Faces Behind the Screen: CJ Jones
Source: (3 Pay Media)
‘Baby Driver’ And ‘Avatar 2’ Actor CJ Jones Tells Hollywood That Disabled Are Able To Tell Their Own Stories – CAA Amplify Source: (Deadline)
An Interview with CJ Jones, the Deaf Actor in the Hot New Movie ‘Baby Driver’
Source: (Haben Girma)
CJ Jones: Stay Inspired and Be Authentic
Treshelle M. Edmond On Making History As A Deaf Performer On Broadway
Source: (Okay Player)
'My Face Is My Voice': A Deaf Dancer Lands Her Dream Role
‘Titans’: Chella Man Cast As Jericho For DC Universe Series
Deaf, Transgender Artist Chella Man Will Play Jericho in DC's 'Titans'
Source: (Men's Health)
Breaking News: Chella Man Joins the Cast of Titans as Jericho
Source: (DC Comics)
Deaf, Gay, and A-OK: Nothing's gonna kill Dickie Hearts' Pride vibe!
Source: (Queerty Pride)
EasterSeals Disability Film Challenge: Winner Dickie Hearts
Source: (Disability Film Challenge)
Deaflix - A Deaf Streaming Platform for Deaf Viewers created by Fred Beam
Deaf people the Month - Fred Beam
Source: (Deaf People)
Faces Behind the Screen: Deafies in Drag
Source: (3 Play Media)
Meet Deafies in Drag: YouTube's Deaf, Latino Comedy Duo
Source: (Out Magazine)
Natasha Ofili Is the Principal in The Politician—and She's Breaking Barriers for Deaf Actors. Source: (Oprah Mag)
Unstoppable: Deaf Actress Natasha Ofili Is Inspiring The World About What Can Be Accomplished With Sheer Determination Source: (Medium Magazine)
Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales talks to Hailey Cooper in Sign Language
Exclusive Interview with Maleni Chaitoo
Source: (Silent Grapevine)
“Screw What Other People Think” With Documentary Filmmaker, Eli Steele
Q & A | Black, deaf, and Jewish filmmaker Eli Steele is challenging how we view race.
Meet the actress blazing a sign-language trail in new ‘Spider-Man’ video game
Michelle Banks: First Black Deaf Actress
Source: (Howl Round)
ARTICLES ABOUT JADE'S WORK
Deaf Community Members Call Out CBS' The Stand for Casting Hearing Actor in Deaf Role Source (People Magazine)
Black Deaf Women Are Invisible on Netflix’s Deaf U, and That's Just Part of the Problem by Jade Bryan. Source: (PopSugar)
Black, Deaf women are missing from Netflix’s ‘Deaf U.’ Critics say it’s ‘misleading and dangerous.’
For many mainstream audiences, the show is their first introduction to Deaf culture
Source: (The Lily -Wapo)
What Deaf U Got Wrong, According to Deaf Viewers
While Deaf U is a fun and important look into the lives of deaf students, many deaf viewers want a lot more when it comes to representation. Source: (Screenrant)
Ep 70: Black Deaf Filmmakers
Jade Bryan On the Challenges the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Face in Film | Tomorrow Will Be Televised
Video Interview with the (BRICTV)
Indiegogo: Ann Marie Bryan on The Shattered Mind
Source: Filmmaker Magazine
Film Review, If You Could Hear My Own Tune
Source: (Film Threat)
If You Could Hear My Own Tune
Source: (The Patch)
Being Jade Bryan “The Shattered Mind” by Liz Belilovskaya
Source: (Untitled Magazine)
Don't Ignore the Black and Deaf: Why Police Violence Is a Huge Danger and Other Ways the Community Is Marginalized Source: (The Root)
2015 AIFF Q&A with filmmaker of Shattered Mind
Deaf Film-Maker Breaks Barriers
Source: (Jamaica Gleamer)
The Shattered Mind: Supporting Black Deaf Culture in Film
First Feature Film About Black Deaf Culture
Source: (MICA Scoop)
9/11 Fear in Silence: The Forgotten Underdogs
Source: (Amazon Prime)
Annually HOJ Deaf Club recognizes and and honors the accomplishments of Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals who in their own way support the ideals of the National Action Network. Source: (HOJ Deaf Culb)