Shaquille O'Neal And Lionel Richie Joke That Stevie Wonder Isn't Really Blind — Are They Telling The Truth?

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IIs Stevie Wonder Really Blind? Shaquille O'Neal And Lionel Richie Joke Legendary Singer Can Actually See
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Is Stevie Wonder really blind? That's been the question on everyone's mind since basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal made a joke about the legendary singer not being as blind as he'd like everyone to believe.

Though this isn't the first time such a joke (or an accusation, depending on your point of view) has been made, it's the first time that it's taken on "a life of its own."

The man we all know and love as Stevie Wonder was born Steveland Hardaway Judkins in Saginaw, Michigan. Because he was considered a "preemie," his birth was very high-risk. As a result, he was placed in an oxygen incubator, and this prompted a medical condition known as "retinopathy of prematurity."

Essentially, his retinas detached from his eyes because his eyes stopped growing. Accordingly, he became permanently blind

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But now, comments made by Shaquille O'Neal and Lionel Richie have brought these rumors back to life. Here's what we know about whether Stevie Wonder is, in fact, blind. 

1. Is Stevie Wonder really blind? Shaquille O'Neal doesn't seem to think so. 

Not long ago, Shaquille O'Neal had a chance encounter with Stevie Wonder in an elevator. That chance encounter led the basketball legend to believe that Stevie Wonder was not really blind.

"So, we live in a building on Wilshire. So you park your car and the valet's down there. So I'm already in the building, I'm coming through the lobby. Door opens, it's Stevie Wonder. He comes in, says, 'What's up, Shaq?' Presses the button. He got on the elevator, he was like, 'What's up, Shaq? How you doing, big dog?' Yes, he did. Wilshire Boulevard. Presses the button, gets off on his floor, goes to his room. I went and called every person I knew and told them this story. And they believed me," he said.

2. Lionel Richie doesn't believe Stevie Wonder is blind, either. 

"I’ve been spending my whole life with him thinking he can see. I know he can see. I went to his house (once). He says, ‘Wanna hear a new song? I’ve got it in the car. C’mon, go with me’ (He said), ‘You sit on the passenger side, I’ll sit on the driver’s side’. He cranks the car up, he puts the tape in, right? And then he does this (turns around) and starts driving back down the driveway. I screamed, ‘Stevie! What are you doing?’ And he said, ‘Ah, got you, didn’t I?'," the soul legend said on The Kelly Clarkson Show

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3. Stevie Wonder, himself, has often played up the 'conspiracy theories' about his blindness. 

Back in 2017, Stevie Wonder was offered a reality show, but he turned it down because he was concerned that the cameras would be "too invasive." He then joked that he had other ways of making money, including "buying planes... maybe flying them."

That, of course, led to renewed "conspiracy theories" about how Stevie Wonder wasn't really blind, and that 2017 would be the year that he would finally "reveal" the truth. (It wasn't.)

4. His mother often cried about her son's blindness. 

When Stevie Wonder was growing up, his mother, Lula Hardaway, would often cry about the fact that her son was blind. She felt that his blindness was "God's punishment" on her for doing something wrong. That wouldn't have been happening if, indeed, Stevie Wonder wasn't blind.

5. Today, Stevie Wonder makes jokes about his blindness. 

When his young son, Mandla, was on Dancing with the Stars: Junior, Stevie Wonder took the time to joke about his blindness. Mandla thanked his father for performing on the show because it "meant a lot" to him.

The judge also thanked Stevie for his performance, which prompted the singer to crack, "it looked good to me!"

6. Blind or not, Stevie Wonder is a legend. 

Whether he's blind or he isn't, Stevie Wonder is considered one of the greatest soul singers of our time, and is a musical legend whose songs will certainly last for generations to come. He has sold over 100 million albums worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. He has also been inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, The Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, and the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame. 

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Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, publicist, and photographer whose work has appeared in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, BET.com, and more.