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Imagine if no one spoke your language…

Unsilenced is a music video. It is being sung. But you won’t hear the words.

Below is the video:

The video by BETC Paris for French non-profit La Parole aux Sourds [A Microphone for the Deaf] is the result of a collaboration by between the French-American electro band, Haute, which composed the music, and the English dancer, Billy Read, who wrote the lyrics and interpreted them in the music video. Billy is deaf.

This is the first original song sung entirely through sign language and dance. What’s unique about the song is that people won’t realize Billy is singing about how it feels to be isolated in your own country. They’ll think he’s just dancing to the music video until we reveal at the end that he was singing all along.

Billy Read is one of those unique voices. He lost his hearing at the age of 3 due to a severe case of otitis, and began to dance as a teenager, inspired by the movements of Michael Jackson. He went on to develop his own technique, using the vibrations of the music to guide his steps and drawing on sign language to enrich his choreography. He’s now the head of his own London-based dance troupe Def Motion.

The BETC agency, which supported the project and produced the clip, “hopes that it will attract the greatest number, deaf or hearing, media, influencers or simple Internet users.”

When you click on the video, a message appears: “You have the power to make Billy speak” . An invitation to discover the universe of the dancer.

“As the daughter of deaf parents, I created La Parole Aux Sourds from a simple observation: for the deaf community, the hearing world can be an unwelcoming place. When nobody speaks your language, it’s easy to feel like a stranger in your own country, even in your own family. But the deaf community has unique voices and incredible stories that are just waiting to be heard,” said Gabrielle, co-founder of La Parole aux Sourds.

The video aims to highlight the importance of sign language and those who wish can make a donation to support the work of the organisation and its work to build bridges between the deaf and the hearing community.

Below is how the video was made:

The film was directed by Alban Coret from Insurrection Films, the production company behind music videos for Drake, Alt-J and Travis Scott.

“The film is meant to be surreal. We wanted to show how strange it is when nobody speaks your language,” said Alban.

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