[Ohio-talk] A Timely Article

Christopher Sabine, ONH Consulting info at onhconsulting.com
Thu Feb 18 19:05:25 UTC 2016


J.W.

This is such a wonderful article. I will post this on our Facebook page.
Thanks for sharing this.

Chris

-----Original Message-----
From: Ohio-talk [mailto:ohio-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Smith, JW
via Ohio-talk
Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2016 1:07 PM
To: NFB of Ohio Announcement and Discussion List (ohio-talk at nfbnet.org)
Cc: Smith, JW
Subject: [Ohio-talk] A Timely Article

Dear NFB of Ohio Family, Friends and Colleagues,

One of our graduate students made me aware of this article and so I have cut
and pasted it here for you to both enjoy and read as well.

JW

"What I'll Say the Next Time Someone Asks if I know Stevie Wonder"

The 58th Annual Grammy Awards was held in Los Angeles on February 15, 2016.
Artists representing every genre of music packed the Staples Center as fans
from all over the country watched for performances and fashion alike.

With so many losses felt within the music community since the beginning of
the year, Stevie Wonder and
Penatonix<http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/grammys/6875306/stevie-wond
er-pentatonix-thats-the-way-of-the-world-grammys-2016> honored Earth, Wind &
Fire's Maurice White with an emotional performance of "That's the Way of the
World." Wonder, who became blind shortly after birth, then preceded to
remain on stage as Penatonix members read the Grammy nominees for "Song of
the Year."

After video played, the camera cut back to Stevie Wonder, who was holding
the winner's card. As he began to fumble with the card, attempting to open
its seal, Wonder murmured, "So, I'm gonna break this open, pop it open...
you know, what the hell?" The audience laughed while Penatonix members
awkwardly looked on, seemingly wondering if they should intervene or let the
music icon continue to open the envelope.

Wonder quickly attained success and upon turning the card towards the
audience, it appeared to be blank.

"OK, so you all can't read this huh? You can't read it; you can't read
Braille. Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah Nah."

The audience erupted with laughter. Stevie, glided his fingers over the dots
adding, "I just want to say before saying the winner, that we need to make
every single thing accessible to every single person with a
disability<http://themighty.com/2016/02/stevie-wonder-calls-for-disability-a
ccessibility-in-grammys-speech/>." The audience applauded Wonder as Ed
Sheeran took home the win for his song, "Thinking Out Loud."

As a blind woman, I've had a love-hate relationship with Stevie Wonder since
losing my vision in 2012. As one of the most famous blind people in the
entertainment world, people often say say to me, "Oh, I can name a blind
person, (pause) Stevie Wonder."

I also get asked, "Do 'you' know Stevie Wonder?"

Know him? Of course I know who he is. I've heard his music. Are we going out
to dinner or texting each other daily? In a word... no.

Surprising as it may sound, not all blind people hang out together. We exist
in this world. We participate in our communities, and if we do happen to
encounter a fellow individual with a visual impairment, then yeah, we
compare notes. Maybe we swap numbers, similar to sighted people when they
meet someone who shares a similar interest.

I know enough about Stevie Wonder to expect a great performance, but I was
equally surprised by the Grammys' choice to have him hold the winner's card.
Even as a blind woman, I was thinking, "Man, is somebody going to help him
with that envelope?" and "How is he going to read that thing?"

Well, Stevie showed me. Hell, he showed the entire musical community. A
blind man read and announced a Grammy winner.

He didn't need assistance. He didn't require a sighted person to do the job.
He just did it. Elegantly. Professionally. Perfectly.

But beyond that, Stevie Wonder lightheartedly used the opportunity, perhaps
even unbeknownst to him, to educate the world about "inclusion."

"We need to make every singe thing accessible to every single person with a
disability."

Inclusion for all, whether it's the blind celebrity announcing the Grammy
winner or the autistic child looking for matriculated classes in their
school. The disabled community craves accessibility. We sometimes require
accommodation. But we all, disabled or not, want inclusion.

The next time someone asks me if I "know" Stevie Wonder, I won't be
frustrated by their innocent ignorance.  Instead, I will proudly say, "Yes,
he's the guy who killed it at the 2016 Grammys by showing the world how
accessibility for the disabled community is so empowering."



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