Antoine Hunter is Deaf and Hard of hearing! Express
I met Antoine in 2012, when I first found out I was going deaf, and attended my first ASL Meetup in San Francisco. At that time I was only moderately hard of hearing (HOH), and had no idea what was to come. I didn't stay in the San Francisco Bay Area long to get too involved in the Deaf community. But from what little I learned from Antoine, he was a major influence on my current studies at New York University in Media, Culture and Communication, specializing in disability studies.
Even though Antoine is Deaf, he is an accomplished and recognized dancer, using his sense of vibration to "hear" the music. But even more importantly, he is a vital member of the activist Deaf community, constantly breaking stereotypes and misunderstandings of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. As I have rediscovered his YouTube videos he has made over the years, and as I have officially reached the level of profound hearing loss on the audiogram, and the difficulties that come with that, I have drawn power and inspiration from his work.
In his video, "Antoine Hunter is Deaf and Hard of hearing! Express," he not only performs a monologue about not being able to hear on the phone, but just about not being understood by others in person. It is one of the biggest frustrations of the deaf and hard of hearing (HOH), including myself. It has been the source of work discrimination for many years, and just recently, a source of academic discrimination. His ability to communicate this frustration, in a slightly comical, yet serious way, pierces the heart of our existence.
I enjoy Antoine's work because it is witty, easily communicated and understood, and poetic. I consider myself lucky that I got to know him, his easy manner which comes through his work, and his dedication. Thank you Antoine, for unknowingly putting me on the activist path. You would be proud.