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10 January 2024

An image of Barbie surrounded by various Kens. The text says Sign Language for Barbie 2023.

Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster Barbie film, having already smashed box office records, now offers an inclusive viewing experience on the Max streaming service. The latest feature allows audiences to enjoy the movie with an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, a move praised by fans and the Deaf community.

Max, in a statement, mentioned that the decision to include ASL was based on research, feedback, and guidance from community leaders. The ASL performer, Leila Hanaumi, known for her work in Deaf Austin Theatre and an ASL cover for Tove Lo’s “True Romance” music video, contributed to making the film more accessible.

Hanaumi, expressing the significance of this addition, emphasized that it goes beyond being just a movie; it’s a cultural phenomenon. She highlighted the importance of the Deaf community being part of the conversation, breaking away from historical exclusion.

Notably, Hanaumi showcased her ingenuity by creating a sign for the compound word “Kenough,” featured on Ken’s (Ryan Gosling) sweater. Fans on social media expressed delight at the inclusion of ASL and praised Hanaumi’s impressive performance.

One Twitter user exclaimed, “Watching Barbie on HBO and they have an absolutely iconic ASL performer! Love this so much!” Another added, “You haven’t seen Barbie until you’ve seen Barbie (with ASL). This version was created for MAX, and the on-screen signing performance by Leila Hanaumi is just amazing.” The move reflects a positive step towards making mainstream entertainment more inclusive and accessible.

For more information, please read Yahoo’s article about the ‘Barbie’ movie with ASL.