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Volume 15, Issue 45  | June 6, 2023Subscribe

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Local Sakina Ibrahim to launch fifth book: To Begin A Journey in Self-Love and Healing


This coming fall, local award-nominated author, artist, and consultant Sakina Ibrahim will celebrate the launch of her new book – her fifth – To Begin A Journey in Self-Love and Healing with Wipf and Stock Publishers. 

Sakina has spent over a decade studying and teaching dance all over the world, which has provided her an unparalleled experience in the arts as a Master dance educator and Diversity and Inclusion Consultant. She received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Irvine, and has commanded the eye and ear of Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Google Irvine Branch, Saddleback College, Essence Fest, and more. As a Medici Award fellow, she has used her research in international dance forms as a tool to build communities and introduce arts and wellness to persons with disabilities, youth, seniors, and corporate offices. 

Passion for dance and education

“I have lived in this area for almost nine years,” Sakina says. “I moved to Orange County when attending Graduate School at UCI and fell in love with Laguna Beach. When I was 14 years old, I used to watch the TV show Laguna Beach on MTV and I told myself, ‘When I grow up, I am moving there,’ and it happened!” 

Local Sakina dancing at beach

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Sakina has lived locally for nine years 

Using her passion for dance and education as her ticket out of marginalized and underserved communities, Sakina became the first person in her family to graduate high school, receive multiple college degrees, and national accolades as a writer and performer. She hopes to offer her knowledge and experiences to support diversity initiatives, speaking engagements, workshops, and performances for the community. 

Connection between dance and writing

Sakina explains the connection between dance and writing and how a specific aspect of dance translates to her writing. “I love Modern dance improvisation. I channel that same energy when I write. My focus is to just create and allow the words to flow just as I would dance choreography, to move without judgment and allow the words to ‘dance.’ I’ve never had writer’s block because I write with the same intention as I dance with, which is to simply express the feeling or idea. If I feel stuck, I step away, turn on some music and dance, I tune into what I like to call divine feminine energy as a source to draw on, in order to be inspired by the movement of life.”

To Begin encourages women to connect with their heartbreaks’ beauty, spiritual significance, and personal challenges. After surviving an abusive relationship, Sakina knows all too well how to thrive despite the heartbreak. Sakina has refocused her painful experiences on healing, self-love, and developing spirituality to come out on top and help other women do the same. “I want women to know they can rise despite the twists, turns, and systems that are stacked against us.

Local Sakina bookcover

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Sakina’s fifth book


Offering a wide range of services using the arts and literacy, she helps to inspire individuals and companies to discover their passions and take responsibility for their happiness and well-being. 

“While researching African Diasporic Dance forms in Ghana, I was able to make connections between social dances like Lindy hop and Salsa to traditional African Dance,” says Sakina. “I developed a dance workshop called Dancing the Diaspora that has allowed me to facilitate arts, culture, and wellness classes to corporate offices such as Google. I have also partnered with institutions like the Segerstrom who have launched Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion initiatives with a grant from the Boeing Company. 

“Clients who have hired me range from schools who want to introduce culture and diversity into their educational curriculum to senior programs who want to keep their participants active and learning about world cultures. Part of my approach to teaching is an idea I learned while in Ghana, which is that dance belongs to everyone, it is part of the vitality to life. This inspired me to create a program called Global Girl for people with special needs. We partner with organizations who serve families with disabilities making sure that they too have access to arts education.”

Local Sakina Ghana

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Dance class in Ghana

Sakina admits that the most rewarding experiences have been seeing young people singing and dance-making together with African centered themes. “Seeing their innocence and curiosity about Black culture inspires me to have faith in the world to address social justice issues,” she says. “Also, working with the women at Google was rewarding. They are so smart and have to be driven and dedicated to their work in addition to being wives and mothers. I felt honored to hold space with them to offer wellness, community building, and a chance to relieve their stress. Technology is such a big part of our lives, but we have to find balance. Wellness, arts, and culture bring balance to the world, and I am proud to be an individual that helps to offer that balance with so much going on in society.”

A journey of self-discovery

To Begin is not a love story. It’s a self-discovery journey meant to inspire others to walk toward their new beginnings, despite their fears. 

Writing has always been in Sakina’s life. “As far as I can remember it was the third grade. The other children were out playing for recess, and I’d ask the teacher if I could stay inside to read and write poems and songs. Inner city schools don’t have the resources to cultivate gifts and interests for children like that. I honestly didn’t learn the skill and discipline of writing until graduate school, I worked very hard to become a stronger writer, by going to the writing resource center every week and working with a tutor. I knew I had stories to tell, and a bigger purpose connected to sharing my life experiences. A year after Graduating from UCI I published my first book, Big Words to Little Me: Advice to the Younger Self, which earned a NAACP Image Award nomination.” 

Local Sakina festival

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Sakina received an NAACP Image Award nomination for “Big Words to Little Me”

Sakina is a woman who knows the value she brings to the table and is not afraid to write about it. Her unique style has earned her an NAACP Image Award nomination for her publication Big Words To Little Me. Sakina has spent over a decade studying and teaching dance all over the world, which has provided her an unparalleled experience of the arts. She has commanded the eye and ear of Drexel University, George Washington University, University of California Irvine, the Boston Women’s Conference, Michigan State University, The Trayvon Martin Foundation, and The Annual Essence Festival.

Free online courses

Specializing in Diversity, Inclusion, and Equality drove her to offer free online courses such as “Becoming Your Best Self” and launch her podcast Quest for Truth – A place for inspiring conversations about spirituality, art, and culture. An entrepreneur at heart, Sakina has stepped out and started a wellness company called “Stretch and Pray.”

Stretch and Pray focuses on being emotionally, physically, and spiritually balanced. Sakina continues to expand her passion for the arts, creativity, and healing nationally through classes, workshops, speaking engagements, and film. 

This fall there will be local book signings, dance classes, and a women’s wellness retreat in Laguna beach on September 6. 

To Begin can be pre-ordered at


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