Chris Corsini’s MDL CHLD “Funk” Video is a collaboration with deaf, queer, BIPOC creatives (the acronym, which stands for black, Indigenous and people of color). For Corsini who’s an ASL Interpreter for Jay Z, Taylor Swift, and the Jonas Brothers this marks his 4th music video release.
As a certified ASL (American Sign Language) Interpreter Corsini has interpreted live performances for numerous pop stars, including Jay Z, Taylor Swift, Jonas Brothers, Panic! At The Disco, Camila Cabello, Thomas Rhett, and Shawn Mendes. (See what Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” looks like in ASL here.)
An artist himself, as MDL CHLD (Middle Child), Corsini finds a natural synergy between his profession as an ASL Interpreter and his passion for performance by integrating Deaf community members both in front and behind the camera, normalizing ASL and captioned content, and prioritizing his own LGBTQ+ community and BIPOC people.
“Funk (About You)” by MDL CHLD on PRBLM CHLD Records is the latest in a series of uplifting, empowering videos that Corsini says are unambiguously “about finding the people you vibe with and letting go of those who do not serve or motivate you.”
The mega-inclusive “Funk (About You)” features an international mix of LGBTQ, Deaf, and BIPOC from Europe, Africa and North and South America both in front and behind the camera. (Corsini is from Toronto, but currently lives in Lisbon. More about cast of the “Funk” video below.)
Corsini, a former competitive dancer, who is gay, but not Deaf, is also a popular tarot card reader, energy healer and astrologer with over 385k Instagram followers who uses ASL and English to run accessible online “pay what you can” meditation workshops. “I want to attract people with really cool inclusive, art, music and videos, so I can teach them how balance their energies and let go of their traumas and heartbreaks.”
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With the experience and knowledge gained by interpreting concerts for major pop stars, Corsini brings to the table a deeper understanding of what he and his team need to do to better support Deaf community members and accessibility as a whole.
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Advice for Beyoncé
“I want to bring attention to the art that we’re creating,” says Corsini, “so that Beyoncé’s team, or Gaga’s team, or someone huge says, ‘Wow, this really is the right thing to do, and these people know how to do it! Let’s invite them on board to try to figure out how to make our concerts and our videos more accessible.”
At this moment (regardless of the pandemic), Corsini feels concerts are not accessible. “Beyoncé is in the middle surrounded by dancers and the interpreters are off to the side on some little fucking stage so Deaf fans are forced to ping-pong their attention and that’s not accessible!” he says. “With my Deaf consultants and Deaf choreographers, I can teach those dancers how to use sign language in the movement. That is an accessible concert! And that will change the way we do things moving forward.”
According to the World Health Organization*, nearly 430 million people suffer disabling hearing loss. “It’s a huge community, so we need to wake up and help these people out a little bit,” says Corsini. “Otherwise, it’s just not fair. It’s not just about Deaf people, it’s about community and ensuring that our community has a space for Deaf people, for LGBTQ people, for BIPOC without THINKING ABOUT IT! Inclusivity should be a natural state of being.”
Watch all MDL CHLD videos, including “#DFWY (Don’t Fuck With You),” “Left For Dead,” and “Mama,” on the MDL CHLD’s YouTube channel.
“Funk (About You)” is released on PRBLM CHLD RECORDS and available for download/purchase and streaming across all music platforms.
About the “Funk (About You)” Video
Those in front of the camera include two trans women: Lola Herself, the face of the current Levi’s® Portugal Pride Campaign who was recently featured for her second time in Vogue Portugal and Babaya Samambaia, a semi-finalist on “Portugal’s Got Talent.”
Also seen in the video is Alessio Convito, a Deaf, Italian-born Canadian immigrant, visual artist, International Sign news anchor for Deaf news/media platform H3 World TV, and an instructor with QTIBPOC Deaf artists advocacy, Phoenix the Fire.
Behind the camera credits include Deaf artist Alexa Hickox, who created the zippy animated captions and Deaf ASL coach and Phoenix the Fire founder, Gaitrie Persaud, who also appeared in the previous MDL CHLD “#DFWY (Don’t Fuck With You)” video along with queer Canadian Deaf Olympian Natasha Bacchus (aka Courage).
All are LGBTQ except for featured vocalist Nicole D’Amato, a cis woman and advocate for human rights, homelessness, and BIPOC/LGBTQ+ issues.
*”Deafness and Hearing Loss,” World Health Organization, April 2021.