Nakia Smith — also known as Charmay — is the 22-year-old TikToker teaching Black American Sign Language (BASL) one viral video at a time.
Charmay is the fourth deaf generation of five generations, and according to Blavity, she’s using her experience to educate people on not only sign language but the deaf community as well.
Her videos have allowed her to accumulate over 300,000 followers and include her siblings, grandparents, and great-great-grandparents, all of whom are deaf as well.
Each video has a particular focus on American Sign Language (ASL) and BASL and also educates people on the best way to interact with members of the deaf community.
Recently, Smith partnered with Netflix to create a video that explains that the particular ASL dialect, BASL, was actually created because of segregated schools.
Black American Sign Language? What You Know About That?
Meet Nakia Smith a.k.a. Charmay (@realcaunsia). She's the 4th deaf generation of five generations, and she is here to inject some knowledge in our veins about BASL and its rich history. Watch & learn from this young queen! pic.twitter.com/Chl6nxLDG1
— Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) November 30, 2020
“I felt like a lot of people didn’t’ know about BASL until my video went viral. They were really curious and wanted to learn more about BASL and history. I told my grandfather that the video went viral, and he said, ‘Keep it going.'”
Smith’s work is revolutionary, mainly because experts have noted how important culturally relevant sign language interpreters are across all sectors.
“The biggest difference between BASL and ASL is that BASL got seasoning,” Smith said.
Not only does Smith include tips on interacting with the deaf community, she also creates informative signing videos and encourages people to learn to sign.
Smith also records the speech therapy sessions with her brother with hopes of expanding people’s awareness of what it means to be Black and deaf.
For more of Smith’s content and ways to learn more about BASL, ASL, and the deaf community, visit her page here.