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Spotlighting Shawn Self In Athens Banner-Herald: Madison County Rapper, Educator Uses Music and Sign Language to Aid Deaf Community

Shawn, a white male with short brown hair signs "run away" as he looks off camera. He is wearing a black Deafinitely Dope shirt and has tattoos on his arms. He is sitting on a brown couch in front of a window with white blinds.

Through his work with Atlanta-based company Deafinitely Dope, rapper, educator, and Hull, Ga. native Shawn Self has used his life experiences as a deaf person to spread American Sign Language (ASL), help hearing people understand the deaf community, and open doors of opportunity for deaf people in arts and education.


“We face barriers every day,” said Self. “More than people know.”


Self grew up in Hull and Athens, and attended Fourth Street (now Howard B. Stroud) Elementary, Burney Harris Lyons Middle, and Clarke Central High school before transferring to Georgia School for the Deaf in the town of Cave Spring, about 140 miles west of Athens. His family history of deafness goes back generations, and his son and nephew are deaf.


“I want them to have an easier path than me, or most of the deaf people,” said Self, referring to the feeling of isolation that can result from a lack of interaction with the hearing population.


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