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Hip-hop Sign Language

Music Feeds our Soul

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Usually, when I think of sign language interpreters I envision a rally, government meeting, or Town Hall; however, to my delight, I just saw my first hip-hop sign language interpreter. It’s awesome! Her body language and sense of feeling and emotion totally tap into the intent of the music.


Holly Maniatty doesn’t just stand there and merely sign with her hands, her entire body is in effect! She credits her boundless energy to extensive research on the artist, his/her life, and the lyrics to many of their songs; in doing so, she brings truth and authenticity to each song.

Holly is best known for her sign language interpreting at large festivals for rappers like Snoop Dogg and Eminem. She’s a hip-hop fan and certified sign language interpreter; videos of her signing songs by rap legends like Wu-Tang Clan and Snoop Dogg have garnered hundreds of thousands of views online.


“I’ve always loved hip-hop,” Maniatty said. “I’ve always been intrigued with the ability to use words to convey different meanings. Becoming an interpreter was a natural marriage there.”


How cool is that! Respecting the music and the right to everyone’s opportunity to enjoy and feel the soul of the music!


“I LOVE HER! My daughter is deaf and knowing that people like her are out there helping others enjoy the show makes my heart happy.” Kenya Ballard

The Beastie Boys were the first hip-hop act she interpreted for, but she’s done other artists like Jay-Z and Eminem. Hired by the disability department of a festival, Maniatty has been interpreting for musical performances for 16 years and doing large festivals for ten years.

Holly says you’re only as good as your last interpretation so she always strives to be on top of her game. The praise she respects the most is from the deaf patrons.

“If they are dropping with the beat and the crowd, bumpin’ to a particular rhyme etc. mission accomplished! Music is such a personal experience – to be a part of that for an audience is truly a privilege.”

Thanks, Holly for all you do,  sharing the love and the heart of the music!

Music Feeds my Soul

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Written by DonnaMarie Woodson

As a writer, wife, and mother I feel it is my obligation to hold a mirror up to the world to remind us to treat others as we would wish to be treated. I’m a fighter who is a survivor of both Colon and Breast Cancer and live for every moment of every day.

My philosophy is we create our own reality so it’s up to us to live a life of peace, compassion, and love.

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