Super Bowl halftime ASL interpreter Justina Miles goes viral

Miles made history Sunday night as the first deaf woman to perform during the Super Bowl halftime show.

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While Rihanna lit up the stage during her Super Bowl halftime show, fans are still buzzing hours later about Justina Miles, the performer who provided the American Sign Language rendition of the “Umbrella” singer’s performance.

Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles
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 Feb. 12, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

At just 20 years old, Miles made history at Super Bowl LVII as the first deaf woman to provide the ASL interpretation during the coveted halftime show. Miles’ energetic and passionate performance almost immediately went viral online, with fans calling her performance “incredible.”

One user wrote in a tweet, “Justina Miles phenomenally absorbed all of the Rihanna energy. She is the first Deaf woman to provide ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation in Super Bowl halftime history.” They added, “Rihanna and Justina Miles… what a team! Brava, beautiful!”

Miles also signed during Sheryl Lee Ralph’s pre-show performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a moment that also went viral on social media. Deborah Roberts of ABC wrote, “Still processing last night’s Super Bowl and have a few thoughts… First, besides Kansas City, there were two other big winners: Performer Sheryl Lee Ralph and ASL interpreter Justina Miles.”

Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show - Press Conference
Justina Miles signs during the Super Bowl LVII Pregame & Apple Music Halftime Show press conference at Phoenix Convention Center on Feb. 9, 2023, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

According to CNBC, Miles spoke to the importance of representation in Thursday’s press conference, saying her performance is, “not only for me to share this experience with the whole world, but to really bring 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.”

“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,” she continued.

Sunday was not the first time Miles went viral online. In fact, the performer broke the internet in 2020 doing the #crushonyouchallenge on TikTok, signing along to Lil’ Kim’s “Crush on You.”

Currently a nursing student at Bowie State University, Miles was the valedictorian at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf in Washington, D.C., and was also a part of the USA team in the 2021–22 Deaflympics in Brazil. Her participation in the 4×100 women’s track relay team won her a silver medal, according to CNBC.

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