Sean Forbes

[cnn-photo-caption image=

caption=”Sean Forbes, 26, started the non-profit Deaf Performing Artists’ Network.”]
Sean Forbes is a young musician. He grew up with musical parents and always had his own talent and aspirations in the field. But, Sean just happens to be deaf.

Not letting being deaf stand in the way of his dream, Sean started a non-profit called D-PAN, or Deaf Performing Artists’ Network. It aims to make the music industry and music culture more accessible to the deaf community, namely by making popular music videos ASL (American Sign Language) – enhanced. “When you tell people who aren’t familiar with D-PAN that we create music videos for the deaf, they’re always taken back. I love the oxymoron of it which is why it’s so beautiful,” the 26-year-old says.

Whether it’s doing songs by Christina Aguilera, John Mayer or Eminem, Sean sees beauty in the way his deaf performers sign to music. The songwriters, directors and producers that make up D-PAN strive to bring the hearing and the deaf communities together with their art — an art that transcends sound and can be felt by all.

Update: Watch the Live interview

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136 Responses to Sean Forbes

  1. Michelle says:

    Do you plan on creating your own singles for the next video or using music from other musicians?

  2. Ashley S. says:

    Has anyone ever told you that D-PAN would not be successful and if so, how did you respond?

  3. eddie says:

    what an amazing concept. sean you’re an inspiration to the hearing and the deaf alike.

  4. Mary says:

    Sean, I think this is great! My son is 27 and deaf and I love music. It hurt me deeply to think that we would never be able to share it together. I wasnt entirely right. He loves music too. Thank you for what you are doing. I have forwarded this article to my son and I am sure he will share. He’s also a social butterfly like me.

  5. WordSpidee says:

    Can hearing people become involved with D-PAN?

  6. Kate from California says:

    Have you ever considered creating a song with the deaf rock band, Beethoven’s Nightmare?

  7. Clyde Berry says:

    Sounds fun! Want to take on opera?

  8. Liz says:

    Interesting what Sean is doing, but you are mistaken about one thing! Being Deaf is NOT A HANDICAP. It is a separate culture, and many Deaf, if given a choice, would not want to be hearing.

  9. Virginia says:

    Wow! What a wonderful thing to do!! I worked with deaf in a state school and I know that they would really enjoy this, as music seemed to be special for them. Keep up the good work!

  10. Pingback: Stuck on Chris from The Hearts of Spades

  11. Barry says:

    I’ve viewed a few of your work (“Waiting For Change”)…they’re awesome.

    There are those within the Deaf Community who are not big fans of signed songs. Believe me, I know. There’s the usual arguments about audism and such. So for years, some of us would hide our talents in private. It’s a shame.

    I say, “No more hiding!”. D-Pan did a good job opening up this hidden talent.

    For the naysayers: I say “watch these videos”…maybe it’ll change your mind.

    Keep up the good work D-Pan!

  12. Eve from Frederick, MD says:

    That is neat! If Sean continues doing this D-PAN. We will be so thrilling because Deaf people do love music include myself and enjoy the sound, feeling of the beats.

  13. chris says:

    This is truly amazing what Sean is doing! I never looked at being Deaf not being a Handicap, but after reading what Liz said that is So True. Thank you

  14. Pat says:

    I’m happy to see this and hope that D-PAN will be hugely successful.

    I do want to say that in the Deaf culture, the use of the words “hearing impaired” is not one that is accepted. The word “impaired” has very negative connotations (i.e. DUI) and simply saying “Deaf” or “deaf” are culturally appropriate – yes, there’s a difference between using capital D and no caps.

    Ditto on what Liz said… it’s not a handicap in the least bit. It’s a separate culture, and hopefully this story will help people to realize that it is what it is — an unique culture not unlike the many other cultures out there (black, Greek, Native, Californian, etc.)

  15. aunt sue says:

    I’m so proud of you Sean! Really!

  16. raj says:

    Great Work. I could have never imagined any thing like this.

  17. ilona Bostian says:

    Questions to be asked Friday ….

    “Do you take submissions and ideas from the community at large?”

    “Where do you get your inspiration? Does the song present itself first?
    Or do you have the message in mind, and look for a song that fits it?”

    “Is it true ASL is the country’s third most used language?”

    “How has the internet changed the accessability of music to deaf people?”

    Hearing and Deafies alike, everyone loves your videos Sean! Thanks for keeping it real. Knock ’em dead Friday!!

    An Athens Fan

  18. Kevin says:

    There is an error in the article:

    Deaf people are not handicap; they just have a completely different culture and way of life when compared to the hearing world.

  19. Gwen says:

    If you have not seen the DVD, you are missing something very special. Every school library should have a copy of this one. It is the best I have seen on the market. Congrats, Sean and the D-PAN staff.

  20. Mark says:

    Do you feel that your lack of hearing is actually an advantage or a disadvantage when it comes to creating music?

  21. Donna in CA says:

    Sean what a great idea this is! My daughter, who is hearing, is in her third year of ASL classes and wants to be an interpreter. The misconceptions about the deaf culture are based wholly on ignorance and my daughter has learned that first hand being a hearing person in the deaf community, seeing how some people regard deaf persons as though they’re mentally challenged.

    Keep up the great work and my wishes for your continued success!

  22. Kim the CODA says:

    Thank you Liz, Pat and Kevin! Deafness is a culture. My mom gave up her hearing aids when I was 5 and is not an anomily in the culture.

    It took me meeting other CODA’s (children of deaf adults) to realize how much of my life is impacted by being raised in this culture and by having American Sign Language as my first language.

    Sean, keep up the great work! You’re truly inspirational!

  23. Kate from CA says:

    Nicole, thanks for featuring Sean and D-PAN in your blog. They are so talented, and their videos are very moving and inspiring. I hope everyone gets a chance to watch the videos at

    Just a word about changing. “handicap” to “disability”… Both words imply that there’s something wrong or broken about deaf people. Deaf people can do anything you can, they just can’t hear. So maybe a better way to word your statement would be, “not letting his deafness stand in his way…” or “Not letting his inability to hear get in his way…”

    Just some thoughts from an editor 🙂

  24. Michelle says:

    Hi Nicole, I do violin and I am deaf too. I used Hearing Aids. Good work Sean!

  25. David Vaughan says:

    I began learning about the deaf culture through my hearing daughter, Amanda, who chose ASL as her second language in high school, and is about to complete her certification as an interpreter. She has already earned her BA in psychology and will go on for her Masters, eventually to work as a therapist for the deaf. She also is a gifted dancer who excelled from age two in ballet, tap and jazz.

    We have talked about how she might combine her talents at some point, teaching dance to those unable to hear the music. I of course am more than proud of her.

    It is wonderful what Sean is doing. I hope that his success continues to soar, and that his efforts to expand the availability of the arts to the deaf culture will teach all of us more about others’ gifts.

  26. Leah says:

    I am facinated with the videos you have made so far and the work you have done! You give Deaf people access to the beauty of music and hearing people the opportunity to see the beauty of sign language!! Keep it up and please make more videos!

  27. Dale Wilson says:

    I had the great fortune of working with Sean on one of the D-PAN videos and i can tell you that he is a force of nature. He is one of the most passionate and talented people I have ever met and once you see him perform in person, it will change your life. Its nice to see him and D-PAN getting the recognition that they deserve.

  28. Marian says:

    Nice gesture, Nicole, but you’re still not getting it. Many people, particularly those born with little or no hearing, view deafness (or, more properly, Deafness) as a cultural attribute, with its own language, literature, humor, and so on. It’s not considered a disability, any more than being part of an ethnic minority would be considered a disability.

  29. sam says:

    this is amazing!

    awesome job Sean, keep up the GREAT work!

  30. Mike says:

    All I can say about D-PAN is that its been a dream of Sean’s for a very long time and it finally has came true after all these times hes been talking about jumping in the music industry, its your game now!

    P.S. without that little cute girl in the video “Waiting on The World to Change” you wouldn’t be that well known 😉

  31. Sue says:

    Hearing impaired is a negative word that should be replaced by Deaf. Deaf people do not see themselves as impaired and take offense to that term. Imagine if someone called you “impaired”? How would you feel? .

  32. derek says:

    that’s very awesome!!! keep it up. dude… also im hearing impaired too.. I would like to watch you if closer.. good luck to you!!!

  33. Tammii says:

    This is AWESOME; I am interpreter and would love to assist / get involved in some way. I have interpreted at the Kennedy Center and many of the venues in the DC metro area. I now reside in Atlanta GA. Music can be seen by the blind and heard by the deaf; music is in the soul

  34. Lou & Martha (Shelby Twp Mi.) says:


    Love your enthusiasm, passion for music and the excitment you bring to music on stage. We saw you at your dad’s Shelby Township restaurant last month and were very impressed with and taken by your talent. Wish you and your other group members the very best.

  35. Jessica says:

    Sean! I am so proud of you for doing this! I know this has been your dream for a long time to be in the music industry! Keep up the good work! I am looking forward for more from D-PAN! 🙂

    “Deaf people can do anything! Just give them a chance!”

  36. Kate from CA says:

    Ah, Mike… Would you perhaps be related to that little cute girl in the “Waiting for the World to Change” video?? 🙂
    P.S. She’s adorable! I love her signing!

  37. paul says:

    Saw sean live in concert, didn’t know what to expect and I have become his biggest fan. Great to see “Sponge” and Louie Risto (academy award winner for “Eight Mile”) behind him live on stage.

  38. Michael in Phoenix says:

    Sean –

    I had thought of this while taking ASL here in AZ. How do I get involved, are there any locations near Phoenix that I could see this??

    Keep it up!

  39. connie says:

    Awesome that you are taking initiative to make this happen. Great going, Sean!!

  40. Sean's Ky Family says:

    heyyy! Congratulations! Proud to see that your big in the world, you’re an inspiration to us all! 🙂 We miss you!!!

    – Your ky family!

  41. Jake C. says:

    By far the best article on today, Im not entirely sure why this miss ashley s. felt it necessary to ruin it. Sean, what you’re doing is absolutely astounding, who cares if you aren’t raking in profits like many corporate tycoons i could mention, what matters is that you brighten up the lives of countless people everyday and I know you are’nt getting the kind of recognition you deserve. Thats just the world we live in tho one “ah s***” cancels out a hundred “good job”‘s. Stick with what you love buddy, this planet could really use more people like yourself.

    Sincerest regards,

    Private Jacob Connell

  42. cori says:

    i think its a brilliant idea. although i am slightly confused because i have heard that a few deaf people are able to hear or feel the bass in a song, is there a way to help them ‘hear’ or visualize the tune? kind of like the visualizer on your itunes, the patterns move with the music so you can kidn of see certain beats and vocals etc. anyways rock on!

  43. Larry Daniel says:

    I am very impressive with this boy who can do it! DEAF People CAN DO what HEARING people does… but cant hear!

  44. Gabor says:

    Liz said:”Being Deaf is NOT A HANDICAP. It is a separate culture, and many Deaf, if given a choice, would not want to be hearing.”

    Of course it is a handicap. Deaf are the people who lacking one of the five senses. Theoretically one could say that blindness is not a handicap, not being able sense taste, smells, not being able to touch is not a handicap, but together such person would not be able to interface with the surrounding world at all (lacking all senses). To say that it would not be a handicap is downright silly. My son was born with a paralyzed right hand and a very slight limp. Compared to missing one sense it is “nothing”, and he is now over 30 years old and living a basically normal life. Almost normal life, but to claim that he has no handicap, is a self-defeating “ideology”.

  45. sabelo says:

    can hearing individuals get involved in D-Pan, and what of those outside the United States?

  46. Mad Doc says:

    To WordSpidee:

    What part of “Deaf” do you don’t understand? Its intend for D-PAN. Not H-PAN. Big difference between D and H. H is not means HA. It means Hearing.
    Hearing has been a world domination in many things, its a time for Deaf to have control in something they want.

  47. Me says:

    D-Pan has come a long way, but don’t forget about other deaf individuals who have done other things as well. I’m deaf, and have worked in the music industry as well. I’m a DJ, and I’ve also worked at a radio station (WPXY FM) in Rochester, NY. (Hey Spuzzy!) I’ve worked with Sean on an event at Gallaudet University and i can see how ambitious and how much motivation he has. Hats off to Sean for making this a reality for those who rely more on eyes than on ears.

    Brian G

  48. Midori says:

    I love the John Meyer video. My Deaf Ed class performed this at the school talent show last year, and we got a standing ovation! Deaf kids can sign and dance! They rocked the house!

  49. Mike says:

    To Kate from CA- yup you got it right! Shes my daughter

  50. Barbara Downey ( Mom ) says:

    As your parents, we have never said Sean you can’t do that, what ever it was, from playing hockey to playing drums or guitar. You have loved music from the very beginning and I am so proud that you have created the vehicle to express it. Now its time for the music that you have written. You are so talented and artistic its time to share those talents with the world. I am so proud!! Love you!!

  51. Karen Butler says:

    Are you planning to have the music in open caption also? I was planning to do DVDs with sign, captioning and other educational features with the music… but had no software to create it all together. I applaud your effort! Thanks! Glad someone is taking the initiative to do something greatly needed! Love it!

  52. JB1 says:


    What you’re doing is an inspiration to us all. Your dedication and enthusiasm is quite something.

    A song suggestion, if you don’t mind?
    Any plans on a video of Blink-182’s song…”All the Small Things?”

    Thanks, and good luck. One!

  53. Larry Garcia says:

    I have known Sean for over 10 years, and He is AMAZING — Working with his Father and Uncle has shown me that their love, appreciation and devotion to music in all forms — and there is no doubt that fell down a generation. You should be in a room where Sean Performs with all his hearing impaired friends to watch.. The amount of SHEER JOY that comes from what he does, and what everyone appreciates can barely be put into words. Sean, you KNOW I will always be behind you, and your success will show through your dedication and love for each and every note…
    Larry Garcia – Founder

  54. Izabella says:

    Note to CNN: For the future, please change “hearing impaired” to “hard of hearing” instead. Many people who are deaf are taken back with the term “impaired”. It makes it sound like we need to be “fixed”. Thanks! 🙂

  55. Sharon says:

    Congrats! Sean…keep up the great work you’re doing. Iam Deaf but do have pretty good hearing and love music. Watching the videos you created is fantastic. You are the man!! Keep it up and we’ll all be watching….the world change!!

  56. hotboy says:

    Sean you need to get the Ghetto Handz Boys from Houston, Texas.
    Because they written their own songs. They don’t reinterpreter hearing people song for the Deaf . Since you doing all the video and the hearing song. why have not you writte a song about your life , talk about your struggle., like them H-town boys ? “Lose yourself”, “Beautiful”, “waiting for the world to change.” you act like as if you wrote those lyrics which is you act like a interpreter. there is a closed caption for us to read hearing people song on t.v., or read their lyrics on internet duh. you need to get with Ghetto handz Boys because they write, flow, rhymes, and sign language. they don’t reinterpreter hearing people songs for the Deaf. And on Jan 30th you better talk about Ghetto Handz Boys on CNN.. and get them to perform around this country. believe me everybody who is reading this Ghetto Handz Boys they go hard!!! I am speaking my mind. I am not talk about Deaf th is Deaf that, handicap this , handicap that that is a old discussion. Sean get with Ghetto handz Boys

  57. hotboy says:

    Because why you have them in your website ? they are talent group and they shine your website, yeah you are good but not as good as my boy Dolla Will C.E.O. of Ghetto Hands Entertainment and Millionaire Handz Records. I have not heard anything about you talking about them Ghetto hands Boys on your website on Fox channel, your recent CNN . My boy, Dolla Will, Z-Mac, J-Starr, Young Cash they are black men and got people attendtion on your website which is they got more attention than people watching your videos. They inspire the Deaf world too. Dolla Will got four cousins who are called “The Boys” R&B singer title of the song called “Dial my heart” check that on youtube. that’s my boy second cousin, He got musican in his family as he told me . When you don’t do nothing for my boys then without you they could shine. they are working trying to get connection with music industries . Better believe that!!! Dolla Will is Deaf, oral communication, he love music, too since the day one . He know the Deaf people’s pain, struggle, life,many things. Ghetto handz Boys wrote bunch of their own song and it all make perfect sense, as well as it rhymes. I don’t care what other people going to reply to this. Y’all don’t know what is up on the other side . Sean really know what is the deal. my boys they got talent! If you took them to live performance concert I guarantee they will be a showstopper, and rock the crowd also make D-pan proud and the Deaf and hard of hearing too!! for real!!

  58. tony says:

    How did you become affiliated with Eminem’s people.Wow that in itself is a great story

  59. connie says:

    Hey , just a little advice for hotboy, you need to cool your public relations approach. Let Sean do his thing, he is opening doors that have never been opened before (that could possibly even help “Ghetto Hands boys”) THE MUSIC BUSINESS IS ALL ABOUT HAVING AN IN. Talent is only a part of the game, being a smart person and keeping cool is a big part of it. Sean is talented and smart and has the world listening, and is the type of person that will help other artists out . I wont hold my breath waiting for him to mention your name on cnn, however if you have talent it wouldn’t suprise me if he give you a shout in the future

  60. janey says:

    Be happy for someone who has worked hard, this is no time for jealousy. He’s making it happen, and being deaf i’m proud of him.
    D-pan is making history, and for Sean it;s only the beginning.
    Our new president beat all the odds and it wasn’t by sittling around waiting for someone else to do something for him…………..GO FOR IT SEAN

  61. Des says:

    Being hard of hearing myself I love listening to music. This is the first time i heard of D-Pan. I think its great for deaf to see that there is music out there for deaf people to enjoy even they cannot hear it. It opens doors for the deaf too so many deaf who like music usually will have to watch captions on tv watching videos only. This is a great alternative for the deaf community to enjoy music.
    I wish i had someone like Sean to ASL sign the words of songs live at a concert i attended last week in Boston to see Metallica. There are deaf who love music by the feel of the sound vibrating and at a concert like this would appeal to some. Im not fluent in ASL but am learning but some Metallica songs are too fast to interpret on. I may be wrong but wonder if Sean could take the challenge of doing something like that?

    “Rock on for” Time for change!! just like obama says.

  62. Rachel says:

    YOU DO ROCK SEAN!!!! Good luck! Keep up the wonderful work!

  63. Tina says:

    Hi Sean,
    I am so impressed with D-Pan and the work you do. It is so important for the deaf to be able to express themselves artistically as you do so well. I am a hearing person who is learning sign language from a deaf teacher. I love to sign music. What can I do to make my sign language journey more meaningful and specialized for music. Thanks for all you do, you definitely ROCK!

  64. Maria says:

    What does it takes to make money from D-PAN. I think we should do one in GA. We need to build up a better communication between the Deaf and Hearing World. Many hearing person do not give any Deaf person a chance to be a Singer up front of the people. BAND !! Lets ROCK!!!!! It is important so many Deaf and Hard of Hearing can participate this group. Why not!! It could be a Dream come true!! Way it go Sean!!! I am proud of you!! Maria (deaf)

  65. PAUL says:

    Connie (blogger from above)

    You are sooooooooooooo right on your comments. Making it in the music business , has so much to do with attitude and having a keen business sense And being deaf and crossing the barriers Sean has…….wow. With this performer I think the planets are in alignment for something big to happen. I saw him in concert live and all things are in place especially his real and rare charisma…GO D-pan, go Sean Forbes, don’t let anything or anyone hold you back

  66. amy says:

    And i’ll add one more thing Sean has……………………….GOOD LOOKS

  67. Cami says:

    Are u enjoy begin deaf or hearing. And iam deaf kid of deaf parent.

  68. sandy says:

    Motown, Bob seger & Eminem, Detroit has another winner………..Congrats to D-pan and Sean Forbes

  69. stan says:


    Detroit has another thing exploding out of their city. If there’s something in the water there I want some of it. This is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Not only are they changing peoples attitude toward Deaf people, they have turned hearing individuals on to a new art form. I never realized the beauty of ASL.
    Just when you thing everthing has been done, along comes d-pan and Mr. Forbes……………………..I’m a true fan

  70. Andrew Gabel says:

    Well, Well, WHo’s stopping us? We are here to share the beautiful ASL with the WORLD, and yet, We still need to iron out some political conflicts to allows us to feel FREE. I had seen this in my vision and I believe in us. Things are changing for the life we seeks in our enitre lifetime. It’s happening and only ONE QUESTION I have to ASK ALL OF YOU DEAF PEOPLE. Are u ready for the change and welcome hearing people to be part of our life?

  71. Mrs. L says:


    Totally awesome! The Lautenbach’s are so proud of you and the young man you have become!! Continue to follow your dream! You are destined to to success!!!!!

    Mrs. L

  72. jay poley says:

    Do u have cd or dvd for ur song? Can u show everyone at party? Can u singing at party for short time small part like example ways u sing

    Your friend,
    Jay poley

  73. Patti Parker-Forbes (Sean's MOM) says:

    Watching Sean grow up and establish himself in the music business has been a true pleasure. As a little boy Sean would “drum” to music on anything. Sean’s Dad, Scott, and I always had music playing in our home and in our cars. All of our boys went to concerts, met Detroit musicians, and were involved in music all of their lives. Sean would watch my lips to learn the words to the songs I was singing to in the car. He would turn up the music to hear and feel the beats. He always wanted more. Being deaf never stopped Sean from doing anything he wanted to do so it’s no surprise to us that he has taken music to a new and more beautiful level. Through Sean we have also learned so much more about music and life and his wonderful world and great friends. We are so blessed to have him and are very proud of him. We’re excited about all the new “next” projects that Sean and D-pan will be bringing to life in the near future. Keep up the great work Sean. We’re behind you with love and support all the way!

  74. sean brady says:

    Hey sean, I grew up seeing my older brother signing “bridge under troubled water” by S&G. You know him, Mike B. in Atlanta, “who likes to bug ya.” I know how moving it is to see someone perform from the heart. Keep it up!

  75. D...Fan says:

    I have been in the music business for most of my life. As a singer songwriter engineer and producer. I have worked with many great and talanted people. From the up and coming, to multi-platinum artists.
    I feel that musics’ job, as in other art forms, is to evoke an emotion in it’s audience. Up until now I thought that this audience was just a hearing audience. Sorry for my short sightedness. D-PAN you have opened my eyes on so many levels.
    D-PAN your work is facinating and important. Sean, I applaud you, and much success in the future.

  76. susan says:

    The greatest thing in life is to inspire, and you have helped make our lives better. Our self asteem has been lifted and many hearing people have a better attitude towards us because of D-pan. ASL classes across the nation are filled to the brim with hearing students , many because of their exposure to Sean and D-pan.

    I can only imagine what the future holds Thanks Susan L. and family

  77. vanessa says:

    This would make a great hollywood movie……………………Seriously

  78. Sylvia Yorke says:

    D-PAN is fantastic, but I recently saw Sean perform his original material at Memphis Smoke and I was blown away! He has amazing musical talent, and I would love to see both D-PAN’s work and Sean’s original music in the mainstream biz!

  79. Mike and Jennifer Forbes (Sean's brother and sister in law!!) says:

    Great job on all your endeavors. Looking forward to tomorrow’s interview on D-PAN and future music videos plus the song about Dad. You have amazing ingenuity have fun wih it.

  80. Derek Schittekat says:

    I got to experience your show last August at Breakers Bar & Grill in Topinabee, MI. WOW!!! Keep up the amazing effort & idea. Sean Forbes does ROCK!

  81. Jenna says:

    Just wanted to say how amazing and influential Sean is to all those who have a dream that seems so far out of reach.
    I had the pleasure to meet and see a performance from Sean back in August of 08 at Breakers in Topinabee Michigan, I looked around and noticed there was not a single set of eyes that were not on Sean, it was a great experience, Keep it up and good luck!!!!

  82. Gary & Marianne says:


    Just watched you on CNN, that was a very good interview. You are a
    very talented young man .
    Maybe will see you this summer at Breakers Bar & Grill in Topinabee,MI.
    Good luck
    Gary & Marianne

  83. STAN says:

    Homerun on CNN…………………………………………..GREAT

  84. KY Mom says:

    Sean- Two words….THANK YOU!!!

    You will always be my HERO!!

    Much love-Your KY Mom

  85. Lynn Herrick says:

    You are a sensational kid! I went to school with your mother & I know she is PROUD! Great Job, Sean!!~Don’t stop at anything!

  86. steve says:

    Props should be given to those who have done the same thing previously. Go back to the 90’s, there are many deaf invididuals who sign songs. Hopefully Sean will write his own music and perform his own videos instead of just signing other people’s music. People have done that all the time. http://WWW.DEAFM.COM – deaf dj’s that provide their own sound reinfircement, deaf performers, entertainment, deaf events. They’ve been around for over 10 years. This includes Helix Boyz, who in fact are deaf rappers and have written their own music. This isnt a one man show, it’s something that’s been going on for quite a while. There ARE more deaf performers out there than just one person who’s profile is on here.

    peacez out!

  87. paul says:

    Steve, I appreciate what you are saying and agree, But hats off to Mr Forbes for having the business head . Look at Madonna, average singer and dancer , but she knew how to work the system. And the article I read on Sean said,he put together a presentation and sold the idea. That my friend is the difference, selling your talent. In fact having business sense is a talent .

    And acording to the interview Sean has 40 original tunes, but wanted to focus on D-pan first. Remember Sammy Davis Jr. paved the way for Black recording artists maybe M.R

  88. paul says:

    (continued) Forbes will help propel other deaf artists to the mainstreem.

  89. Jen says:

    After reading some of these comments I have to say it is SAD that some of these people just don’t get it. I have known Sean for a long time and I have seen him perform on numerous occasions, with his own original songs, my personal favorite is song about deaf girls. I also understand Sean’s approach with D-PAN, I keep begging him to release his songs, but he is taking his time, but I he told me he just shot a music video for one of his own songs. Many people would die to be in his position, he has media attention, music business attention, access to so many things and he is with the organization that produced the biggest rapper in the world Eminem. As for the Helix Boyz, I saw them one year at Rockfest and they are terrible, sloppy signers, arrogant, and have no respect for anyone whatsoever. Forget the haters you keep doing your thing, you know you’re successful when you have haters, and I can just picture you laughing right now, be who you are, keep doing your thing, that’s why we love you.

  90. Gertrude (Seans CA Mom) says:

    Steve, perhaps if you actually took the time to visit D-PAN’s website, then you’d see that Sean isn’t the star in all the videos. His intentions are to pave the way for other Deaf performers/musicians. Paul has it down to the bone.

  91. Milinda says:

    I truly thank Sean Forbes for letting the world know that we deaf/hard-of-hearing can do anything and also for D-Pan. Fantastic music/sign!!! Thanks, Sean and other people too! Thanks for posting!

    Did you know that a young deaf man fly a small airplane in other country? Amazing, isn’t it? I hope one day here in america allows deaf people fly airplane.

    Thank you!!!

  92. Milinda says:

    One more thing, Deaf means can’t hear and talk and cannot be fixed!(Hearing) Impaired means repair therefore can be fixed. Head bow!

  93. bobbie says:

    all i can say is this: WOW! noone can top sean forbes! congrats!

  94. Ann says:

    I am just seeing this tonight online and I am very happy. Sean, I want thank you for taking that huge step toward this. You know, you are absolutely right!!!!! The hearing and deaf people can work together in the music world.
    I am hearing impaired myself and I would love to have sign language to be a part of the music videos. I love to hear music but I always ask my kids to sing or sign in front of me where the music starts. My son is going to love this.Thank you, Sean!!! I do hope you will be successful in this music business. Just wondering if you can sign to the song “Babe” by Styx., one of my favorites.

  95. bobbie cohen says:

    all i can say is this: wow WOW ! keep up with good work! amen!

  96. lanni says:

    I actually like the Helix boys ,however ,I totally agree with Paul’s comments above. Sean is charasmatic, and business smart ,and had the determination to make things happen in a way no other deaf performer has. He is taking off big time and had the guts to audition in front of Marshall Mathers and his camp. Wake up other artists in the deaf community, you’ve got to sell yourself, it doesnt matter how good you think you are you have to be markatable.

  97. dan says:

    I am a deaf performer, and I for one am proud of Seans sucess. I have knocked on doors and been rejected, sure I have had my sucesses performing live, however my hats off to him for breaking into an almost impossible business. It doesn’t matter if I think i’m as good or better than he is, he’s actually doing it , doing the almost impossible. He could of said no to helping other artists in the beginning, but he co-founded D-pan to spread the word. and although they did’nt invent ASL music videos, they were the first to do them with the quality and integrity needed to draw attention to deaf performing.

  98. cheryl says:

    Hey, your far ahead of the pack and arguably one of the most famous deaf performers today. You don’t owe anyone anything, except perhaps Eminem’s people. You made this happen ,you dont owe any other performer or group anything (although thats probably not your style)

    And another thing not mentioned, your charisma in an interview is alot of the reason your happening, image sells not to mention your not bad looking either……………….A proud fan

  99. s.h.f. says:

    As an assistant promoter, I found some of the above mentioned artists hard to work with. Sean is very accomidating and easy to work with, perhaps that is the reason he’s happening and others aren’t . His ego should be bigger than others, but in fact it’s easy to deal with and he’s a pleasant person to work with.

  100. stacy says:

    Great comments about the business of music. It woke me up and helped me realize the components of being sucessful. I particularly like the Madonna statement, in her case , business ability and drive probably were the biggest reason she exploded on the scene.

  101. greg says:

    I for one am proud, and the above blogs show how this is impacting people. I think one thing deserves repeating, when one artist crosses over, this will help other deaf artists into the mainstreem. So let’s all show our support, it’s historic and impacting. Go d-pan. go Sean

  102. pam says:


  103. Wanda says:

    Deaf People have thought of musical TV networks of the Deaf for many years. The issue is lack of money and complete lack of financial support for it. There are a great number of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people who are music lovers who dances to the music. Back in the mid 60s’, I enrolled at Georgia School for the Deaf in Cave Springs, GA at the age of 10 and a half, a full oralist and zero ASL. The ASL was fantastic and so was discovering the DEAF WORLD is a huge world people of the Hearing World never knew exists. We, girls, were living on rules, One of the rules is staying inside the dormitory all day on saturdays and sundays from noon until supper. How we killed time are straight out of movies featuring girls in college dorms. Manicuring, pedicuring, carrying out portable hairdryers, popping popcorns on one stove portable on permission only and only one had permission. No computers. Only 1 TV. No phone calls allowed. All deaf boys were restricted by rules, too and completely out of sight. We lived on campus that did not allow anyone outside the campus to hang around. We were completely isolated from the world. Those of us who hears with hearing aids always got together to listen, sign and dance to record players. For 30 mins or one hour each Saturday we all flocked to the living room and danced along with the show, “Where The Action Is” and “American Bandstand”. We danced together. Just like those kids in the “Hairspray” movie with John Travolta and Christopher Walken. Every morning each of us had a chore assignment. Cleaning dorm room, bathroom, hall, living room, and laundry room. We’d turn on the record player and sing along with our voices, yes, voices-not ASL- we had to use both hands for cleaning up, because we are all deaf, we were not affected by our off key singing voices except our housemothers who tolerated us, as we cleaned up so we sang out, not in little wee voices. We sang at the top of our voices just like Hearing singers do. It is hard for anyone, deaf and hearing alike, raised totally in the Hearing World to comprehend Deaf People are musically capable and that they do hear sound exactly the way hearing hear sounds without cochlear implants. Hearing aids do work excellent. I, myself, hear flutes. We don’t rely on vibrations to “hear sounds”. Ugh! Watching “Sarah Normans” character in the “Children of a lesser god” with Marlee Matlin and William Hurt, keep dancing on after the music ended was humiliating and misleading. Outrageous. Hearing people readily believed the false light. Hearing World’s educators and authorities of Deaf Education for hundreds of years never gave Deaf People opportunities to be themselves except to be janitors, housekeepers, cooks ( not chefs ), keypunch operators, printers, typists, hairdressers, laundry workers, auto mechanics, and sewmakers. Those skills were required to be taught to Deaf students in state schools for the deaf. Very few were encouraged to go to Gallaudet or NTID. I’m newly divorced and in the process of applying for filmmaking/acting either at the Gallaudet or NTID, always intend on highlighting Deaf People to bust myths of Deafness in the Hearing World. All films with deafness in it are incorrect/historically incorrect/politically incorrect in the entire history. I was born with a nerve deafness. I hear with hearing aid and I am not tone deaf.

  104. stacy says:

    Great blog Wanda!!!!!!

  105. steve says:

    Wanda, what an asset you could be to Sean and D-pan. I’m sure they read your blog. D-pan and Sean never claimed they were the first to put ASL to music, but they were the first to produce high quality product and expose deaf performers to the masses. I was at the D-pan/Sean Forbes concert in Detroit. Usually, deaf events are low to moderately attended. This was off the hook, in fact they turned several hundred people away because it was sold out. I think your experiences could be an asset to their company. they are open to new artists and new ideas.

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  107. m says:

    These are great blogs, but I agree with those comments about supporting an artist thats got it all going. There are actors working in coffee shops better than Brad Pitt, there are musicians better than the Jonas Brothers working as janitors. But the known performers had business knowledge or tapped into someone who had the ways and means to make things happen. All gears are working for Sean and I for one hope he continues to explode. This is the first time a deaf musician has gotten as far as he has and I think this is just the beginning.

  108. lk says:


  109. PAC says:

    I havent seen your performance. Where can I see it so I can show it to my ASL students in class that Deaf can do anything but hear.
    Thanks. Keep it up, Sean.

  110. Bridgette Lazarus says:

    It is really great to see that everyone has an opportunity to fullfil their dreams.

  111. Young Kim says:

    I see there are GIANTS living in our midst! God Bless him!

  112. jan says:

    Americas two best deaf performers, Sean Forbes and Russell Harvard. Would love to see them do a song together………WOW

  113. ike says:


  114. Kristen says:

    It is people like this who are truly inspirational and make every day worth living. It is so nice to see young people working hard to make this world a more diverse and better place. This man is truly blessed to have dreams and visions so huge. If all of us could be this amazing, this talented, this goal oriented the world would be a truly amazing place.

  115. bobbie cohen says:

    life is good to sean forbes and may it continue with good blessings from God in heaven.bobbie cohen. march 2nd 2009 monday at 6:23 am…

  116. mary bern says:

    I think what you’re doing is great. Maybe you will come to Hawaii, and rock the young Deaf people here.

  117. Amberly says:

    Hello Sean,

    I got email from dpan and infomation about this.. Wow I shocked that interviewed with you!! U are doing wonderful job!! U are soooo beauitful!! DEAF IS ROCK!!! Anyway, I want said u doing good job!! Thanks for info me about this!! I glad all hearing and deaf got inspirational from this music and asl too!! I am foward see more new music dvd in future!!

  118. Srinivas says:

    Hi there:)

    I am talented. D-pan is very important . u have amazing to music and sign. if u are interested……………..thanks a lot. thank for you message.god bless u.

    Best of Luck

  119. Devanney says:

    Sean, your interview was amazing! I am an ASL student, and we watched three of your music videos on D-PAN only a month into the class. I can’t believe how well you spoke. You’re an inspiration!

  120. RUFF says:


  121. Helen says:

    Being hearing-impaired definately affects the music world. But I want to tahnk you, because your music ahs made the world better, and has completely changed music for me.

  122. Juanita says:

    I think that Sean Forbes can be really insairational in so many young people as well as those who are deaf and have dreams. as well asu, im also into music. and its somethin i would like to get out there, it seems like your out there already. I saw some of your videos…you are really dedicated to what you do.

    I hope you are well….and never let yourself see your dreams fall..because for me, like for everyone else…dreams are life.


  123. Dulce says:

    My comment about these blog is that is very important that some persons could help other people who help them having they’re dreams come true. Like Sean Forbes who is deaf and his parents were musian and he wanted to be like them too. Sean went to a school that he could hear the music but defferently. The deaf community helps making popular music videos of American sign languages. Sean Forbes first started D-Pan that is performing sign language music. I think is wounderful that Sean did his dreams come true and it’s a greate opportunity to deaf people that will like to be a musisian.

  124. Kara says:

    i think this was very intersing. its hard to belive that people who are like this are able to so scuced in life with something that other poeple think would hold them back.

  125. trevon says:

    well i think that this kid is not the best but, in time he could possibly become one of the best singers of all time. although he is a very talented singer he dosen’t have the ignigma feeling or the credeintals.

  126. trevon says:

    now what i mean about egnigma(excuse my misproper spelling) is that he is a deaf singer and that i know that everyday he thinks about how he will never be able to listen to his music. i kind of feel bad for him but not in that way

  127. trevon says:

    man all i know that is that certain people doesn’t want disabled people in the music industry

  128. Cecil Rich says:

    Sean I think what your doing with the deaf community program D-PAN is really a cool way for the deaf to experience a way of playin music.

  129. stan says:

    Trevon, with all due respect, I think Eminem’s camp are pretty good credentials. And it’s about the fact that he is out there doing it, and is becoming a sucess because of determination AND A GREAT BUSINESS SENSE , I Laugh at the comments about talent being the only part of an artists sucess, this kid is making it happen because he’s smart in all ways, AND SURE HAS ENOUGH TALENT, GOD BLESS SEAN KEEP GOING

  130. SCOTT says:


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  132. Nancy says:

    Sean Forbes performed for us at a leadership camp, and it was amazing! I wish him much luck and success for the future.

  133. Don Goergen says:

    Sean does have parents with musical backgrounds,in fact I saw his Dad (& uncle) performing in Rochester, MI last night and they were FANTASTIC !!! – they’re in a great country-rock band.
    Sean, here’s a random thought – I’m not sure if it is already being done or not, but I was thinking as I watched you and your friends “conversing” with great ease across crowded, loud bars/restaurants as bands were playing, that sign language could be used by the military ( especially in captivity or in times when quietness is essential….why not?

  134. pat levin says:

    Don, great idea !!!!!!!!

  135. Sean Forbes says:

    I want to say thank you everyone for your comments, this is defiantly one of my proudest accomplishments to be featured on Young People Who Rock!

    Don – I agree they should use Sign Language in the Military. You’re right, my friends and I love being able to sign across the room with ease but sometimes we have to use “BIG” sign language to see each other, which could be equivalent to “screaming” across the room haha.

    Again thanks!

  136. jay poley says:

    Hey sean,

    Great job on stage.

    I am looking forward talking to u.
    Here is my e-mail
    Your best buddy,
    Jay Poley

    Ps let me know anythings news from u

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