Guest Feature: Sarafina El-Badry Nance
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I want to share this resource for everyone regarding the ongoing violence in Sudan and how to both help and center the Sudanese people.
This website, Keep Eyes on Sudan, is run by the Sudanese diaspora amplifying the calls of the Sudanese people. The site lays out different actions people can take, databases and directories, essential reading that provide context, and much more. I highly encourage everyone to go to Keep Eyes on Sudan and take action in some way and play a small role in trying to help the Sudanese people.
Okay friends, let’s get right into it. I am so excited to introduce this week’s guest feature: Sarafina El-Badry Nance!
Sarafina is an Egyptian-American astrophysicist, analog astronaut, author, science communicator, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, and fervent women's health advocate. Passionate about increasing science literacy, she uses a variety of mediums (social media, books, academic publications, film, and TV) to share the magic of the universe with the world.
After being diagnosed with the cancer-causing BRCA mutation and having a preventative double mastectomy at age twenty-six, she publicly advocates for genetic testing, self-checks, and equity in healthcare. She has been awarded fellowships by the National Science Foundation, been named one of Forbes' 30 Inspirational Women and was on Forbes' list of "30 Under 30" and the Arab America Foundation's "40 Under 40." She lives in Berkeley with her partner and her dog, Comet.
And as you can probably tell from the picture above, Sarafina also has an incredible memoir due out June 6, 2023 where she explores her life growing up in Texas as an Egyptian-American, her fascination with space and the cosmos, her journey with breast cancer and how her life of curiosity empowered her to face every curveball head-on.
Wow. Simply, wow. Talk about someone who not only is incredibly accomplished but also truly living life each day to the absolute fullest. Sarafina is someone I had the good fortune of connecting with on Twitter, and I can honestly say that her genuine kindness, empathy, and infectious personality shined through in our interaction. It’s an absolute honor to have Sarafina be part of this newsletter, and her go-to music truly reflect her humanity across all levels:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
Recently, I've been really digging anything Masego. “Prone” is such a chill and eclectic song that surprises me every time I listen to it.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
I just love a spacey, downtempo electronic vibe that gives the listener a soothing cosmic reprieve. “Lost in Thought” by Jon Hopkins does just that. When I need to self-soothe, I try to focus on my breath and the instrumentals get me out of my head.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
“El Alem Allah” by Amr Diab. I will never get enough Amr Diab! I remember listening to his music with my mom as a kid, and feeling such a deep, joyful connection with Egypt. It's pop, it's Egyptian, it's just so fun. I even did my fourth grade talent show to “Wala Ala Balo” which threw my American classmates for a loop. As I said, just plain fun!
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
I think I'm on a "fun songs" kick. Normally I listen to songs sans words, but if I venture out of the electronic zone and go for something a little more flavorful, I'm going to go with “Good Mistake” by Mr. Little Jeans. I discovered this one in college and I feel like it just represents driving around in the sunshine with the windows down. Good Mistake, good vibes.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
Odesza's “A Moment Apart”, especially with the “Intro”. It will forever be my favorite song. I listened to it en route to flying in zero gravity, and you know when a song just courses through you, from your head to your chest and into your soul? Yeah. it was like that. Just transcendent.
Big shout out to Sarafina for joining and sharing her song selections! All of Sarafina’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. Be sure to follow Sarafina on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. And go preorder your copy of Sarafina’s forthcoming memoir here!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Flows 🎧
Markaz El Madina - Tribe of Monsters featuring El Far3i
Routine - Karim Osama featuring Molotof
Shi Ghareeb - Nour Helou
Cocktail 1 - TootArd
Hamra - Hamo ElTikha
Chouf - Djouher featuring Raste
Runway 249 - YK featuring Aidyproof
Bouma - El Rass
Wana - nour
Omri - Kofs featuring Soolking
TMO - Issam AlNajjar featuring Mohamed Ramadan and GIMS
Pour toi - In-s
Still Alive - Raste
Doom - Ÿuma
Mabsota - Disco Misr featuring Almas
Habibti - Douki featuring In-s
DARBA 9ADIYA - Moha K featuring DYSTINCT and YAM
Planets - Soof featuring Dania
Kharbosh - Mostafa Elnesr
IMPOLIS - Bo9al featuring X7kira and Clemando
🎤 Latinx & Hispanic Vibes 🎤
Sombrilla - Mala Rodriguez
D1 - Nino Augustine
Me EnRD - Prince Royce
Don’t Let Me Go - Nikky Bourbon featuring Stylolive
NANANA - vf7
Ay Amor - Rafa Pabön featuring Buika
Soy un volcán - Anyi featuring SIMON
Romance y Bellakera - Ñengo Flow featuring Jory Boy and Zion y Lennox
Niña Bonita - Feid featuring Sean Paul
Give It To Me - Miguel
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
Dolly Dawn - Harry Belafonte
Damaged - Amaria featuring PHABO
Danger - Pronto featuring Nonso Amadi and 255
You - Ari Abdul
Run AM - Stonebwoy featuring Mereba
Praising You - Rita Ora featuring Fatboy Slim
Breeze Off - Lady G
Make A Wish - Kari Faux
Just Relax - Lola Brooke
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
'I'd rather die': Syrians in Lebanon fear deportation - Aya Iskandarani and Rouba El Husseini, Agence France-Presse
"Our biggest fear is for him to disappear (in regime prisons), never to be heard from again," said Samer, 26.
Lebanon: Silencing Journalists and Lawyers - Nour Sleiman, Daraj
From silencing opposition voices to subjugating the judiciary and imposing a patriarchal logic in dealing with abuse: instead of acknowledging its failures and working on a solution, the ruling elite aims to eliminate the voices exposing those failures and return to the era of tutelage.
A silent history: The AIDS epidemic in Lebanon - Raphaël Abdelnour, L’Orient Today
During the 1980s-90s in Lebanon, HIV victims died amid the roar of the Civil War — often in total silence. Raphaël Abdelnour met with survivors of those dark years, who still suffer from the weight of the taboo.
For over three years, intersecting oppressions have magnified already existing inequalities. Those who were already struggling with socioeconomic troubles, as well as job security saw their problems increase exponentially. Such is the case of migrant domestic workers (MDWs), all of whom live and work under the notorious conditions of the Kafala system, Lebanon’s sponsorship-based system that controls and regulates not just their work, but their entire lives in the country.
No power to the people: How private generator owners own Lebanon's electricity - Adham Nasser, Raseef22
"In Lebanon today, or in the majority of its regions, the generator owner decides the pricing, he decides where you get to subscribe, and he has the power to cut off your electricity without warning."
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
‘I lost my son in this meaningless power struggle’ - Mohammed Amin, The New Humanitarian
The city is dark and full of tragedy. There has been no electricity and limited water, bread, and fuel. Corpses have been left strewn across roads and sidewalks. There has been no safe way to bury them as fighting has raged.
Challenging gender stereotypes: Morocco's bold step towards redefining masculinity - Walid Etbabo, Raseef22
A group of public figures, including artists and journalists, announced their participation in the "Positive Masculinity" campaign in Morocco. The campaign challenging gender stereotypes was launched at the end of March by the Ministry of Solidarity, Social Integration and Family, with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
New York, New York: The first Arabic-speaking community in the United States - Linda K. Jacobs, The New Arab
At the turn of the 20th century, New York welcomed a new community to its shores. Comprising of what are now known as Syrians, Lebanese and Palestinians, the burgeoning community struggled to survive but would overcome adversity and come to thrive.
Tunisia’s Security Forces Are Supposed To Stop Migration. Instead, They’re Fueling the Flight of Many - Sam Kimball, New Lines Magazine
With no prospects for a secure future, young Tunisians caught in the country’s foreign-funded carceral system are heading for the exits.
Libya green group battles to save remaining forests - Jihad Dorgham, Agence France-Presse
The "Friends of the Tree" group works to raise awareness about green areas around the capital Tripoli that are quickly disappearing because of drought, human activity, and desertification.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
Harry Belafonte, Folk Hero - Wesley Morris, The New York Times
Cool and charismatic, Belafonte channeled his stardom into activism. He was a true people person, who knew how to reach, teach and challenge us.
Ayra Starr Always Knew She Would Be a Pop Sensation - Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, Pitchfork
The preternaturally poised 20-year-old gets fitted for a grill and talks about why it’s important for her to spread African culture around the world.
Embracing the primal, letting it out and letting go at music festivals - Pilar Galvan, NPR
Music festivals like Coachella are a spectrum of taste and discovery, allowing fans to experience their favorite artists and introducing them to new ones.
Lana Lubany Sings her Holy Land - Fifi Abou Dib, YUNG
The Palestinian-American musician tells of her bilingual lyrics, her encounters with her self and a return to her roots.
Kesha Reveals Her New Album: ‘I Really Dug Into My Uglier Emotions’ - Brenna Eherlich, Rolling Stone
Working with Rick Rubin, not to mention her beloved cat Mr. Peeps, made 'Gag Order' a new kind of breakthrough for the singer.
📚 Other Reads 📚
After the Shooting in Kansas City - Michael Holtz, The New Yorker
Ralph Yarl is part of a tight-knit community of Liberian immigrants, many of whom fled violence to come to America.
New study on COVID-19, race and prison populations shows the power of ‘big data’ in the fight for equality - C. Brandon Ogbunu, Andscape
“We need more Black researchers with the training to unmask society’s ills.”
How Shady Companies Guess Your Religion, Sexual Orientation, and Mental Health - Justin Sherman, Slate
And sell that data to the highest bidder.
The voices of NPR: How four women of color see their roles as hosts - Jennifer Gerson, The 19th
Leila Fadel, Michel Martin, Ayesha Rascoe and Juana Summers have taken over host chairs at NPR’s flagship news programs. They’re thinking holistically on how to lead when it comes to representative news.
Can Gen Z afford to live in Boston? - Diti Kohli, The Boston Globe
Baby boomers and Gen Xers benefited from economic conditions that do not exist for millennials. And by many measures, the path ahead for Gen Z is even more fraught.