The Power of Song: Disabled on Broadway with Jennifer Kumiyama

While inhibiting one’s physical mobility, a congenital disability can also paralyze one’s soul. Jennifer Kumiyama struggled to find her identity, her purpose, her voice in this world, as she confronted attitudinal and architectural barriers as a child with a disability. 

Born to a modest family, trauma manifested outside of Jennifer’s disability through gang-affiliated siblings and her parents’ divorce. She discovered solace in music, developing an early appreciation of various genres. She credits her stepmother for exposing her to jazz, and her grandfather who took her to a Baptist Church on Sundays during summertime. Through singing, Jennifer found her voice and resurrected her soul; moving from the school choir to gigs on a reality show, to Disney theme parks and more. The “Aladdin” singer’s Broadway breakout connected her to the renowned Idina Menzel and a new realm in the performing arts industry. 

Jennifer now uses her voice to serve humanity through the “Bedside Beats” project at the Miller’s Children’s Hospital and works as an advocate for underrepresented groups. As for her insecurities as a disabled person, she has learnt to “let it go.”

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