Nuevo Culture

EXCLUSIVE: Anjel Piñero Comments on Lack of Screen Time for Deaf Performers During Super Bowl LVIII

Deaf actress, model, and dancer Anjel Piñero is speaking on the lack of screen time for Deaf performers during Super Bowl LVIII. Piñero was invited to perform “America the Beautiful” in American Sign Language (ASL) during the Kickoff Show. She signed the song as Post Malone sang vocals. She also performed with Alicia Keys during the Halftime Show.

During the Kickoff Show, Piñero, who is Puerto Rican, was introduced at the start of the song. However, after her introduction, Piñero, along with the other interpreters who signed other songs during the event, was never shown again during the live telecast.

“I am always going to be grateful for being selected for this year’s Super Bowl, and I empathize with my deaf community regarding accessibility,” Piñero told Remezcla on Tuesday (February 13). “It’s life, not an accessory – and this applies to everyone!”

She continued, “I am heartbroken that my work did not have the chance to be seen alongside Post Malone on national television and my halftime performance as Alicia Keys, H.E.R., and other guest artists. There is so much that we can do, and to have transformation, it is to be inspired. I know one of these days, someone from the inside will notice that and take action to push our work and the future deaf performers onto the mainstream.”

Oscar-winning actress and Deaf activist Marlee Matlin, who can be recognized from movies like CODA and shows like Switched at Birth and The West Wing, also spoke out about screen time for Deaf performers during Super Bowl LVIII.

Super Bowl LVIII might’ve broken a record for viewership with 123.4 million people tuning in, but no one saw Piñero, unless they were watching the show via live stream on the Fox Sports YouTube channel.

Some viewers wondered why simple technology like Picture-in-picture (PiP) wasn’t used as a feature.

The NFL missed an incredible opportunity to reach out to football fans in the Deaf community with this misstep. Let’s hope they remedy the issue by next season.