Silent Shout for Equality: Deaf Hip-Hop Artist’s Performance at UN Headquarters


Have you ever heard a singer sing in silence? Signmark is a deaf rapper and singer and he was giving an amazing performance on 17 April at the UN Headquarters in New York. This flashmob mini-concert aimed to support the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Singing in sign language is a challenge, and a large audience was there to sign and sing with him.

“Even if the world comes crashing down – and even if my luck would turn around – I stand tall, proud back against the wall – and even if the hands of time would freeze – you won’t see me begging down on my knees – I stand tall, proud back against the wall.”

It is the lyrics of the song “Against the Wall” performed by deaf rapper Marko Vuoriheimo from Finland, also known as Signmark. He brought his unique brand of hip-hop and message of equality to United Nations staff and diplomats on Tuesday.

With floating clouds in sunny blue sky and a warm breeze blowing on everyone’s face, Signmark first of all taught the audience – in sign language translated – the meaning of the lyrics. With his energetic and superb body movement and hip-hop music, and his colleague Brandon as his voice, the audience has quickly warmed up.  Everybody was impressed by his silent cries and his cheerful appearance and happy attitude.

Signmark is a deaf rap artist from Finland, who uses his music and positive approach to change attitudes towards persons with disabilities. He has also been designated as a Special Representative of the Foreign Ministry of Finland to promote the rights of persons with disabilities.

The flashmob mini-concert performance has been sponsored by the office of the High Commissioner for Human Right(OHCHR), the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations in support of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol was adopted on 13 December 2006 at the UN Headquarters in New York, and was opened for signature on 30 March 2007. It is intended as a human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension. It adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

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