A sign language interpreter has captured the hearts of millions after he was filmed expressively signing at a concert during Atlanta’s Pride celebrations.
David Cowan, who is deaf himself, became a viral star after deaf model and Dancing With the Stars winner Nyle DiMarco shared a video of the moment on Twitter, writing: ‘Sign language interpreter at pride ATL is [fire emoji].’
The clip, which was filmed by Jeremy Turner of Team Turner Real Estate, shows the American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter translating Beyoncé’s ‘Get Me Bodied’ while energetically moving to the music.
Famous: American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter David Cowan has become an online star after a video of him signing Beyoncé’s ‘Get Me Bodied’ at Atlanta Price went viral
Fans were quick to identify Cowan in the comments of DiMarco’s tweet as it turns out he is already a prominent star in the Atlanta deaf community.
Two years ago, he became the first deaf person to be named Grand Marshal of Atlanta Pride after working as an interpreter at the celebration since 2000.
Cowan is also an ASL interpreter for politicians in the state, including Rep. John Lewis and Gov. Brian Kemp. Just last month, he signed the Georgia governor’s press conference on Hurricane Dorian at GEMA.
Local hero: Cowan, who is deaf himself, has been an interpreter at Atlanta Pride since 2000
Amazing: The clip, which was filmed by Jeremy Turner of Team Turner Real Estate, shows him translating Beyoncé’s lyrics while energetically moving to the music
Going viral: The footage of Cowan has scored him plenty of fans, though he is already a prominent star in the Atlanta deaf community
According to Project Q Atlanta, he’s interpreted at Black Lives Matter protests, anti-Trump protests, the Women’s March, and a Pulse nightclub shooting vigil at the Center for Civil & Human Rights over the years.
The video DiMarco shared has been viewed more than 2.3 million times on Twitter, with many people praising Cowan — and his saucy dance moves — in the comments.
‘This transcends language,’ one person wrote, while another added: ‘I have no idea what he’s saying, yet it still sends a message.’
Even Cowan himself responded, writing: ‘Thank you, @NyleDiMarco for posting this…. That crazy guy is me!’
Start of it all: Dancing With the Stars winner Nyle DiMarco shared a video of the moment on Twitter, and fans were quick to identify Cowan in the comments while praising him
Success: The video quickly went viral on Twitter, with Nyle’s followers, and some of David’s friends, going wild over the clip
Grateful: David responded to Nyle to thank him for sharing the video with the world
‘There were several different songs at the event,’ he added. ‘I believe this particular song in that video is “Get Me Bodied” by Beyonce.’
Speaking with Time, Cowan broke down the process of signing in real-time at the Atlanta Pride event.
‘We have a hearing interpreter who listens to the songs and relays to me. Then I translate into ASL,’ he said, though he noted that some lyrics such as ‘slap my booty’ are complicated to translate because of the use of slang words.
But those difficulties are actually what make his interpretations so appealing.
‘That crazy guy is me!’ Cowan, who is pictured with DiMarco, thanked him for sharing the clip with followers
In demand: Cowan is also an ASL interpreter for politicians in the state, including Rep. John Lewis and Gov. Brian Kemp
His life’s work: The interpreter said his passion is creating a space where there’s no language deprivation
‘I can’t just fingerspell that because of our language/culture aspect,’ he explained. ‘I had to dance with my hand [and] slap on my butt.’
Cowan, who said he enjoys any music with bass or treble, is happy the video has brought attention to the importance of the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law that prohibits discrimination based on disability in the public sphere.
‘What I enjoy the most about interpreting is to allow the language accessible to the deaf audiences. It’s my passion,’ he said.
‘[Creating] a space where there’s no language deprivation. It’s not about me. It’s about the deaf audiences.’