In 2006, Sean Forbes and Joel Martin founded D-PAN, the Deaf Professional Arts Network. Their goal was to create music videos of popular songs using deaf and hard-of-hearing performers to express the lyrics with ASL. Their first video, “Where’d You Go” by Fort Minor was performed by Sean Forbes and Rosina Switras, and it got more than a half-million hits on YouTube!
Their next big hit, “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer, featured performers from all around the world. This song and video became an anthem for the Deaf community, and the D-PAN team decided to add more music videos to their collection. More videos following, with songs from Christina Aguilera, The Killers, the White Stripes and Eminem. You can find those videos—and more—on the D-PAN site.
D-PAN has gotten involved in the Deaf community in more even more ways, too. In 2011, they created the D-PAN Music Video Camp. This camp was founded as a way for young deaf and hard-of-hearing people to get training in the arts. The students at the camp get to work hands-on to create a music video, and they learn all kinds of different skills, including how to set up the lights for the set, perform on camera, operate a camera and even edit the final video. You can check out the videos created by the students on the D-PAN site!
The D-Pan site also highlights some different deaf performers and artists. You can read about Amber Zion, who has appeared on TV and movies, Peter Cook, an internationally famous performer who has performed at the White House, and Joey Antonio, a successful dancer who even competed on TV!
The main goal of D-PAN has always been to make music more available to everyone. Their ASL music DVDs have sold thousands of copies worldwide and they’re not slowing down. As they write on their site: “We have the power to level the playing field and bring music to everyone, and we’re not going to stop. It’s everybody’s music.”
To visit D-PAN, click here!