On Sunday night, Justina Miles made history as millions of Americans watched the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona. Miles, who is only 20 years old, was the first female deaf performer for the event’s halftime show.
The American Sign Language performer signed the pre-show’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the Black National Anthem, which was sung by the legendary Sheryl Lee Ralph.
Justina Miles performs “Lift Every Voice and Sing” in American Sign Language prior to Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona.
Miles also signed Rihanna’s Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show, in which the singer revealed that she is pregnant with her second child with partner A$AP Rocky
Miles’ infectious performance of 13 minutes of Rihanna’s biggest hits, including “Work,” “Diamonds,” “Umbrella” and “Pour It Up,” immediately went viral. However, this isn’t the first time she became an internet darling.
Back in 2020, Miles posted a video of herself first performing a part from Lil’ Kim’s 1997 hit single “Crush on You” that went viral, receiving over a million views. In addition, she received a silver medal at the 2021/22 Deaflympics in Brazil with the U.S. women’s track relay team.
Miles graduated as the valedictorian at Washington D.C.’s Model Secondary School for the Deaf. Currently, she’s a nursing student as well as a cheerleader at Bowie State University, according to a press release from the NFL.
During a press conference right before the Super Bowl, Miles explained the importance of signing a song like “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by saying it was vital “to share this experience with the whole world.”
She also said that the song “really bring[s] that empowerment to millions and millions of Black deaf people all over the country who’ve never really seen that before. I feel that is truly lifting every voice, even my voice.”
Miles has also remarked: “I value the opportunity to make it possible for all deaf people to enjoy these songs, and not have them miss out on the full Super Bowl experience.”
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