Hip-hop ASL interpreter signs for songs

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ASL interpeter Amber Galloway-Gallego at a camp for kids at a Florida school. courtesy

A rap star’s appreciation for her signing went viral on YouTube.

By Linda Owens

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Graduate Amber Galloway-Gallego could be the most recognizable rap and hip-hop American Sign Language interpreter.

Galloway-Gallego got national attention on Aug. 13 in Springfield, Ill., when rap artist Carl “Twista” Terrell Mitchell in a live concert challenged her interpreting abilities to keep up with him. A YouTube video of the event went viral.

Galloway-Gallego owns her own company, Amber G Productions, which provides interpreter provides them for music performances and other venues.

She has signed for more than 400 concerts and festivals around the United States, including interpreting concerts for Lady Gaga, Snoop Dog and Cher.

Close friends and mentors encouraged her to get involved with the music circuit because she naturally signs quickly and uses her body as well as her hands.

“I followed my friend’s lead, and this led me in the career that I have today,” Galloway-Gallego said.

She always wanted to perform and was moved when she saw the San Antonio Deaf Dance Company and thought she could bridge a gap between signing and music. The first concert she signed for was in 2001 in San Antonio.

Galloway-Gallego graduated in 2000 from this college with an associate degree in ASL interpreting. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa, and a master’s in ASL/English interpretation at the University of North Florida.

 “Alamo Colleges and especially this college’s ASL program is probably one of the top programs in the country,” she said Sept 13 in a phone interview.

 “It is an important degree; you are accountable for the communication of others, and it can mean life or death,” Galloway-Gallego said.

Surrounded by members of the deaf community before she was 5, she was “inspired by friends to change her major from physical therapy assistant at St. Philip’s College, Gallego said.

A counselor pushed her to take ASL.

 “She physically drove me over to SAC to enroll in the courses,” she said.

Gallego contracted meningitis while in college and became hard of hearing.

She inspires fellow students with this message:

“Don’t let anyone tell you can’t do it; you can achieve it. Never give up on whatever motivates you just follow it.”

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