Deaf Detroit rapper helps deaf community make their own videos

By Mitch Albom
Troy A. Blevins, Online Editor, Producer (@troyblevins)
Published On: May 08 2014 05:50:00 PM EDT
Updated On: May 08 2014 06:54:01 PM EDT

Sean Forbes is already a rapper, writer and video star despite being deaf. But Forbes didn't stop with his own dream -- he wanted to nurture others.

DETROIT -

Sean Forbes is already a rapper, writer and video star despite being deaf.

"I am just able to feel the music and I was born into a musical family," said Forbes. "The bass and the drum are the most easiest for me to detect."

But Forbes didn't stop with his own dream -- he wanted to nurture others. He co-founded the Deaf Professional Artists Network, or D-PAN, so that deaf music lovers could enjoy famous songs through sign language videos.

Forbes is now changing the world again, helping the deaf community to make their own videos through workshops.

"When I was growing up I always loved making music videos. Me and my brothers would use our parents' home VHS recorder," said Forbes. "To see those kids come to the workshop and work with me and work with my team of people, it's really awe inspiring."

Participants design the sets, create the concepts and do the choreography. The transformation is astounding.

"A lot of those kids were from inner-city Detroit and they are stuck in these classrooms where they are the only deaf person, so they come to these workshops and they realize that they have a voice," Forbes said. "When they show up to the workshop they are kind of like, 'What's going to happen?' By the time Sunday comes around they are like -- they think they are the coolest people in the world. We show the video and the parents always come up to me like, 'What did you do to my child?'"

Believing in himself and others, Forbes is proving you don't have to hear to be heard in the heart of Detroit.

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