TikTok is a fascinating rabbit hole. Yes, viral dances and makeup trends are the backbone of the app, but the endless algorithm also brings you exactly the type of content you never knew you needed, like Keeping Up With The Kardashians scenes signed completely in ASL. Deaf TikTok creator Scarlet May is on the forefront of the genre, coupling up signature Kardashian drama with deaf accessibility in her series "Deaf Kardashians." May breathes new life into the show's most iconic scenes with her on-the-nose timing and acting chops, really making it feel like you're watching Kim Kardashian's infamous crying scenes for the very first time.
May began posting "Deaf Kardashians" a few months ago, and I hope she never stops. She often plays multiple sisters per TikTok video, donning quick, Kardashian-core outfit changes while rapidly signing away. Her growing library is home to many of the fan-favorite moments; Kim yelling at Kourtney for not having a business she's passionate about? Check! Kourtney crying because working will "never be a priority" for her? Absolutely! For scenes that require a bit more nuance, like say, Kylie Jenner being roasted by her sisters for knowing nothing about living on her own, May teams up with her friend and fellow ASL signer Nicole A.
May's deaf advocacy takes her beyond reenacting Kardashian scenes or signing to a Drake track; she shares the importance of closed captioning on TikTok, and how videos that fail to do so ignore and frustrate the deaf community. "I don't think you actually understand how we feel to watch millions of videos and not have one idea what you guys are saying because you simply decided to not add closed captioning," she wrote. "Imagine if I decided to make this video and not add closed captioning, you hearing people would be completely left out and lost."
Not only is May's work funny as hell, but it's a reminder that accessibility should be second nature and not an afterthought. Yet another win for Gen Z!
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