Big Daddy Kane, an old school rapper and legendary member of New York’s Juice Crew, offered a “sincere apology” on Tuesday after shoving an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter offstage.
Performing in Virginia on Jan. 14, the rapper pushed Billy Sanders, hired by the venue to be an ASL interpreter for the show, later claiming that he mistook him for a fan that he thought rushed the stage.
“So I know a lot of people out there saw this,” Big Daddy Kane said on Instagram after video of the shove went viral, “but see what y’all didn’t see was this.”
Playing an extended clip of the viral incident, Big Daddy Kane can be seen dapping up Billy Sanders and apologizing. He told him that it was simply a misunderstanding, and that he didn’t know that there was going to be an ASL interpreter on stage with him that night.
“I’ve done a lot of crazy stuff in my life… but I would never try to disrespect an interpreter that’s doing sign language for the deaf community onstage,” the rapper said. “No one told me what was going on. No one told my manager that there was going to be an interpreter. We were clueless, so when I came on stage and saw someone just mouthing the lyrics, I was trying to get them off the stage.”
The original video of the incident, posted and shared on social media, received a lot of anger from the deaf community.
“Uncool,” the video was captioned. “What’s wrong with Big Daddy Kane.”
Speaking on Instagram and apologizing to the ASL interpreter, Big Daddy Kane also stated that he was disappointed that whoever shared the video didn’t show how he apologized to him.
“No one showed the clip of me apologizing to the brother and allowing him to stay onstage and finish the show,” the rapper said on social media. “No one showed the clip of me apologizing to the crowd. Because as I said on the clip, I want everyone to enjoy the show, and that means even those that can’t hear it.”
“Billy Sanders my sincere apology Bro,” Kane restated. “Much respect to the deaf community. I would never disrespect y’all, and once again, much love to that interpreter. Again, I apologize, my brother.”
Trending online as ASLBae, Billy Sanders has yet to comment on the incident. He previously stated that he didn’t have any social media profiles, and possibly has not seen any of the social media controversy regarding that night. According to Big Daddy Kane, the issue was quickly resolved right after it occurred, and Sanders was able to finish out the show.
“I want my mom, ultimately, to understand what is being said every day,” Billy Sanders told NPR back in 2020. A child of deaf adults (or CODA for short), he said, “If there’s a concert, I want your favorite part of the song to be her favorite part of the song.”
“If I’m interpreting Al Sharpton and he starts to inflect in ways to get a call-and-response out of people, then I want my mom to be there in real time and be able to say an ‘amen’ in real time,” he continued.
Gaining his fame as one of the most talented golden age rappers of the 80s, Big Daddy Kane’s second album It’s a Big Daddy Thing broke the R&B top 40 chart before hip-hop was officially recognized by the mainstream industry.
The 53-year-old rapper is expected to perform at the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament in Baltimore at the end of February next, alongside legends such as DJ Jazzy Jeff, Rakim, Yo-Yo, Monnie Love, and DJ Kool.