Artist Health

Artist Health: Popular Nigerian-American Artist, Zaragretti, Battles Mutiple Sclerosis

Zaragretti Multiple Scelerosis “Awwwwwww. . . sweetheart,” was my response, as I placed my left hand on my chest and absorbed the news I had just read. The whole of last week, I had this young lady on my mind and almost felt like I should go searching for her to find out what she was up to. However, I know that when I have someone on my mind where I can’t shake them off, it usually means I will either hear from them or about them, soon. So I waited thinking soon I will hear she has dropped a new song, an upcoming album etc. Instead, I am greeted with news that Zaragretti aka Zara, one of my favorite emerging artists in the industry, is battling with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

The disease has left her blind in her left eye,  and she has double vision in her right eye. She is also experiencing tremors and there is talk of undergoing chemotherapy.

Folks, stop for a minute. AML people, life is so weird isn’t it? One minute you could be going one direction and all seems fine and the next, life throws you one of those hard curveballs that reminds you that you are in control of nothing. Zara is so vibrant and so full of life.

I am humbled by this news. I actually wrote a lengthy post sharing how I met Zara, my own personal experience volunteering for the MS society as a legislative advocate for almost six years, in Sacramento, thanks to one of my Personal Trainer Clients who had MS, asked for my support and introduced me to the organization. I wrote this post and I inadvertently deleted it.

So, I will just keep it short by saying:

First, major bravo/kudos to Zara for having the courage to share her illness with theZaragretti Multiple Scelerosis 2 world. This is particularly significant since she is African. There is such deep stigma associated with any kind of health issues members of our African communities within and outside the continent face. We are, for the most part, uninformed and usually  isolate, ridicule and dish out harsh responses to those who really need our help. So, to see Zara boldly share her situation with the world is amazing and encouraging.

Second, if you have MS, or any illness/disease for that matter, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Join a network of people who can provide you with the resources and emotional support you need. For the MS society, please visit their website ( I have done advocacy work for the organization in Sacramento and Washington D.C. and they are a powerful non-profit with ample resources to help anyone going through MS or at least point them to the right direction, including healthcare providers.

Third, Zara all is well. I will join the community of prayer warriors out there and keep you in my prayers. I hope a friend or relative reads this. Please reach out ([email protected]) and  I will be glad to share my resources and connect you with persons within the MS organization that can guide you through this very difficult time in your life.

Stay blessed.

With love,

“Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects women more than men. The disorder is most commonly diagnosed between ages 20 and 40, but can be seen at any age.

MS is caused by damage to the myelin sheath, the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells. When this nerve covering is damaged, nerve signals slow down or stop.

The nerve damage is caused by inflammation. Inflammation occurs when the body’s own immune cells attack the nervous system. This can occur along any area of the brain, optic nerve, and spinal cord.

It is unknown what exactly causes this to happen. The most common thought is that a virus or gene defect, or both, are to blame. Environmental factors may play a role.

You are slightly more likely to get this condition if you have a family history of MS or live in an part of the world where MS is more common.

Symptoms vary, because the location and severity of each attack can be different. Episodes can last for days, weeks, or months. These episodes alternate with periods of reduced or no symptoms (remissions).

Fever, hot baths, sun exposure, and stress can trigger or worsen attacks.

It is common for the disease to return (relapse). However, the disease may continue to get worse without periods of remission.

Because nerves in any part of the brain or spinal cord may be damaged, patients with multiple sclerosis can have symptoms in many parts of the body.

Muscle symptoms:

Loss of balance

Muscle spasms

Numbness or abnormal sensation in any area

Problems moving arms or legs

Problems walking

Problems with coordination and making small movements

Tremor in one or more arms or legs

Weakness in one or more arms or legs

Bowel and bladder symptoms:

Constipation and stool leakage

Difficulty beginning to urinate

Frequent need to urinate

Strong urge to urinate

Urine leakage (incontinence)

Eye symptoms:

Double vision

Eye discomfort

Uncontrollable rapid eye movements

Vision loss (usually affects one eye at a time)

Numbness, tingling, or pain

Facial pain

Painful muscle spasms

Tingling, crawling, or burning feeling in the arms and legs

Other brain and nerve symptoms:

Decreased attention span, poor judgment, and memory loss

Difficulty reasoning and solving problems

Depression or feelings of sadness

Dizziness and balance problems

Hearing loss .  . .” PubMed Health

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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at

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  1. I find MS and its onset to be one of the most devastating things that could happen to a young person, because these are people who are unwittingly struck with this in the prime of their lives, and once the symptoms begin, for the most part there is no turning back.

    1. I know right. It is indeed devastating.

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