Last month, she became the first deaf black actress to be portrayed as a character in the video game “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales”.
Oveli plays Hailey Cooper, a teen street artist who happens to be deaf.
“People look at this game,” Oveli said. “There is a superhero in the disability community being represented on the screen, it’s a reflection of who they are.”
Ophelie hopes the role will highlight the diverse set of skills that people with disabilities have and unpack misconceptions in the process. She says that while she and her character are deaf, it’s not what distinguishes them, and it’s a message that she hopes will resonate with others.
Ofelli said: “Today’s young people who are deaf and hard of hearing – I want them to persevere, I want them to have opportunities, and if there was a way to create opportunities for them to make their lives easier, that would be great.”
Ophelie’s role brings representation to the black deaf community, which is not often portrayed in the media. A movement to create more awareness and inclusiveness is growing with campaigns to admire the annual International Day of December 3 for people with disabilities.
“I hope that by raising our visibility, people will finally see us and see us as individuals, not just as disabled people,” Ofeli said.
The actress is fully aware of the ongoing struggle for inclusivity, but she hopes more people will see her handicap just part of her story.
Ofelli said, “When you see a character like Hailey, people will say, ‘She’s human, just like me.'”
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