With a career spanning decades, Stevie Wonder has become world-renowned for his legendary music. As a young boy, he sang some of the most iconic songs in American history and remains one of the few blind people to ever achieve such success today. However, skeptics have come forward recently with claims that the star may not be as visually impaired as originally thought—but does their accusation hold any truth?
At an incredibly young age, Stevie Wonder was already launching his career by signing a deal with Motown in Detroit. The album he released at only eleven years old featured him under the moniker ‘Little Stevie Wonder’, displaying that even from middle school onward, his disability has been public knowledge.
When only thirteen years old, the young singer and musician Wonder achieved phenomenal success with his first hit single “Fingertips.” Shooting straight to number one on Billboard Hot 100 chart, he cemented himself in history as the youngest artist ever to reach this peak and solidified his musical legacy at such a tender age.
From a very young age, Stevie Wonder was already distinguished by the signature black sunglasses he still wears today. His visual impairment gave him an unmistakable presence and aura that drew many to his music, allowing for him to become even more beloved across America.
Stevie Wonder’s vision impairment has been the subject of much speculation – however, he was born six weeks premature in 1950 and diagnosed with a neonatal disease that caused retinopathy of prematurity; his eyes were unable to develop properly, leaving him blind from birth. This condition is what prompted some individuals to question whether or not Stevie Wonder was actually born blind. Despite this conjecture, we can confirm that due to retinal detachment as an infant, Wonder suffered complete blindness for his entire life.
Despite Stevie Wonder’s inspiring story of success despite his blindness, there have been moments in time that made some question whether or not he was actually blind. For instance, a video by Noisey shows how certain actions taken by Wonder has allowed conspiracy theorists to speculate if he is truly visually impaired as others believe. Thus far, the proof demonstrates that Stevie Wonder is indeed vision-impaired; however, it serves as an interesting thought experiment for everyone else.
During a memorable show in 2010, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney were performing when an unexpected accident occurred–a microphone suddenly fell. However, the blind singer’s reaction proved to be flawless as he managed to catch it before it hit the ground. His quick thinking astounded many of his fans who believed that such agility was not possible without sight!
In 2018, Myron Medcalf was astounded to find Stevie Wonder taking a selfie of none other than the iconic singer Michael Jackson at the Minneapolis airport. Why would an acclaimed artist such as Wonder be behind the camera? Perhaps he wanted his own personal memento to honor one of music’s greatest legends.
Basketball luminary Shaquille O’Neal recounted a narrative that created speculation of Stevie Wonder’s sightedness. In an elevator, the famous NBA player stated “the door opened and it was none other than wonder himself [who] said ‘What’s up, Shaq?’ then proceeded to press one of the buttons.” This left people with no choice but to question how could he recognize him if blind.