Way across the pond, massive legend Stormzy made history when he became the first black British solo artist to headline Glastonbury Festival in its 49-year history. According to those on ground, the artist’s set on the Pyramid Stage was a politically charged and emotional performance with surprise appearances from Coldplay‘s Chris Martin, the BAME (the UK’s Black Asian Minority Ethnic Network) dance group Ballet Black, a gospel choir, and rappers Dave and Fredo. And, in a brilliant show of inclusivity, the electric performance also featured a Sign Language interpreter for deaf and hard of hearing punters.
According to BBC Entertainment correspondent Colin Paterson, Tara Asher is one of only four British Sign Language interpreters in the UK fluent in the genre of Grime.
“I spend probably approximately a day per song translating it,” she told BBC 5 Live ahead of Glastonbury. “Before I come here I print out set lists trying to work out what songs they are going to play, stalk them a bit on the internet and find out what’s happening.”
Asher said she also signs any artist interaction with the crowd.
In videos posted across social media, Asher can be seen enthusiastically signing Stormzy’s set.
Only 4 British Sign Language interpreters in the UK are specialists in Grime. Tara Asher signed Stormzy’s Glasto set for deaf festival goers.
She rehearsed each song for a day. This is joyous. She LOVES her job. Have a watch please. @BritishSignBSL @deafzone1 #glastonbury19 pic.twitter.com/OkeW9irIoG
— 📻 Colin Paterson 📺 (@ColinGPaterson) June 29, 2019
Here she is again with BBC Radio.
Tara Asher is one of only a handful of people who specialise in signing grime songs. She’s been preparing to sign for @stormzy at Glastonbury tonight and gave @bbcpm a sneak preview #glastonbury2019 #SignLanguage pic.twitter.com/161TDeupNl
— BBCPM (@BBCPM) June 28, 2019
Twitter user Marti Burgess said it was “the absolute highlight of a fantastic day.”
The absolute highlight of a fantastic day was seeing this woman signing to what I assume were a group of deaf festival goers during @stormzy set – ❤️ you #Glastonbury #inclusvity #fucking #rocks 🇬🇧😘 🇬🇧👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 pic.twitter.com/EAgIgA61ul
— Marti Burgess (@martiburgess) June 29, 2019
Fellow artists Adele, Ed Sheeran, and Jacob Anderson (Raleigh Ritchie) had nothing but praise for 25-year-old Stormzy, who is now the second youngest person to headline Glastonbury. A 24-year-old David Bowie headlined in 1971.
AND THEN, anonymous artist and political activist Banksy revealed he designed Stormzy’s customised Union Jack vest.
Stormzy, who was absolutely unaware of this, replied: “You’ll never know what this means to me. I feel like I am dreaming, this is all a dream. Honoured, grateful, thank you. I don’t have words for this. Tears of joy.”