Grammy nominees Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church sang the national anthem before, but plenty of fans were busy paying attention to another anthem participant: American Sign Language interpreter Warren “Wawa” Snipe. A football fan himself, Snipe enthusiastically threw his entire body into interpreting The Star-Spangled Banner, smiling broadly and almost dancing along with the words.
Snipe also interpreted singer H.E.R.’s performance of America the Beautiful before the anthem.
“It was always my dream to perform at the Super Bowl, and I would love to be able to perform the halftime show in ASL too,” Snipe told CBS News before the game. He said he practiced by studying how this year’s singers typically perform.
Snipe has a recurring role in the CW superhero show Black Lightning, and is himself a rapper and recording artist. He calls his musical genre “dip hop,” meaning “hip hop through deaf eyes.”
The CBS cameras focused mostly on the singers, with Snipe only occasionally making it on screen, which viewers noticed. Some viewers were disappointed to only see him in glimpses over the shoulders of the singers.
But fans thoroughly enjoyed what they did see of his heartfelt work.
“I want to wake up every day and be as excited to go to work as the ASL interpreter at the Super Bowl,” one Twitter user wrote.
And some noted that they really wanted to see more of Snipe.
“Dear CBS, having the sign language interpreter in a box on the screen during the singing for those at home also would make a lot of individuals happy,” one person tweeted.
According to CBS, the National Association of the Deaf announced that they would post full videos of Snipe’s Super Bowl work to YouTube, but they weren’t yet posted at press time.