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Dr. Raven "the Science Maven" Baxter, an award-winning science educator, molecular biologist and lyrical wordsmith, has made it a personal mission to make complex science more fun and digestible for the masses through music. After 10-time Grammy-nominated rapper Nicki Minaj tweeted this week about her cousin's vaccine hesitancy, Baxter saw an opportunity to use rap music as a way to educate.
- All because of rapper Nicki Minaj. This all comes from some tweets that she posted on Twitter. One of them on your screen now. In it she claims you had to be vaccinated to attend the Met Gala on Sunday, but she won't get the shot until she's done enough research.
- She said she heard that her cousin's friend got vaccinated--
- And became impotent. His testicles became swollen. Ouch.
DR. RAVEN BAXTER: (RAPPING) Ody-ody-ody-odies. AGM, AGA, AGD, AGE, AGG, AGG, AGE, AGD. The category, biology. Lesson on immunology, a little microbiology. This is the terminology. I got the vaccine, and now you got me on the right night. B-cells know the haters when they see them so it's fight night.
My name is Dr. Raven, the Science Maven. I'm a molecular biologist and science communicator. And I understand all angles of this conversation, with Nicki saying I want to do more research. I don't want to be pushed into a corner just because I have to go to this event.
And then I understand people feeling frustrated because it's been over a year and a half now that we've been in this pandemic, and the vaccines have been available for months and months and months now. There needs to be room for all of those feelings. And I don't think it's fair for us to force people to feel a certain way about decisions that they make about their body.
So I offered Nicki an opportunity to chat. I am an educator. I've taught in K-12 spaces. I've taught at university settings. I'm also a rapper. I make science rap music. And I happened to last year have made this video, and I wrote a song called "Antibody." And everybody calls it the "Antibody-ody" song.
(RAPPING) Because it's fight night. Everybody asking me, what's a vaccine? Bad B scientists in the L-A-B, checking for the right nucleic acids and proteins. We making shots to build up your adaptive immunity. Body-ody-ody. Antibody.
It's been used as a teaching tool to get people acquainted with the terminology around the immune system, about vaccines, about what's going on with our bodies when we receive vaccines at the cellular level. And it's a video that I made to help a student study for their microbiology exam last year. But I've learned that it's also helpful for people to just hear the words, see a face as friendly, and hopefully they're able to dig in deeper in the song and learn about their meanings. The meanings of the words.
It's important for people to just see that interaction of the scientists that cares. Here's a scientist that understands how to communicate in a way that's not like an academic journal that nobody can understand, or using-- I did use big words in the song, but I did it in a way that invites you to dance along to it. A lot of people are frustrated. And it's becoming more of an emotional thing. Like how could you not, at this point, trust the science?
And what does it mean when people say, well, I still want to do my research? The way that I interpret that is, I'm still looking for somebody I can trust. For a source that I can trust to listen to. Because when scientists do their research, we analyze our sources as well.