Chella Man is back and showing just how beautiful being deaf is.
The Beauty of Being Deaf is a new three-minute short film made by Man celebrating the good things about being deaf and/or hard of hearing. The model and actor wrote, directed, and edited the film himself. The film is being released in conjunction with a new line of ear jewelry made by Man in collaboration with Private Policy New York that highlights hearing aids, rather than trying to hide them. The project pays respect to National Deaf History Month.
“The appearance of hearing aids and cochlear implants have always created a disconnect,” Man wrote in a statement. “The pieces never felt like me, and I had no control over their designs. I always found myself brainstorming ways to reclaim the machinery that had become my part of me.”
Man said that as soon as he put on the jewelry for the first time, he “felt the disconnect vanish. It amplified my implants and my deaf identity without overshadowing it. Redefining the machinery with my art replaced the rigidity with fluidity.”
In the video, Man, as well as model Rayly Aquino and dancer Raven Sutten, who are also deaf, sign underwater. “When you think of beauty… you’re not taught to think of me,” Man signs in the video. “We are often told: we have lost. We have a loss. We are at a loss.”
“But through this loss there is a great gain, perhaps even such a gain that we forget about the loss,” the video continues. “In the face of prejudice, we gain strength. Other senses heightened, coming together to form a dynamic perspective of life we will always carry.”
“This expertise, this deaf gain that we are all granted come together to form community, culture, establishing a continuum of people who are different… yet connected,” they sign. “And how beautiful is it to be able to communicate underwater,” Man asks at the end of the video.
There are currently eight golden ear pieces available to preorder from The Beauty of Being Deaf. While the pieces are designed specifically with the deaf and hard of hearing community in mind, they also look great on allies.