Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (pronounced: [ʃaˈkiɾa isaˈβel meβaˈɾak riˈpol], English /ʃəˈkɪərə/; born February 2, 1977) is a Colombian singer, songwriter, dancer, record producer, choreographer, and model. Born and raised in Barranquilla, she began performing in school, demonstrating Latin, Arabic, and rock and roll influences and belly dancing abilities.
- I do feel that I have to use my voice for those that don’t have one. I have to do the best I can in my own work to represent my culture, represent the women of my country, of Latin America. What we stand for. What we’re made of. I feel like there is a part of me that represents a minority in the US, a minority around the world. People who struggle, people who want to succeed with drive and ambition. So, people who want to try – yeah, I do feel in a way like an ambassador, for all of those.
- It’s in an area where there’s a huge population of displaced people – refugees in their own country. It’s a very impoverished area, where kids have no access to a high-quality education programme. So we just inaugurated this school for 1,700 students. And it’s already showing the kind of transformational power that education has. It’s already having an enormous social impact on this area. Before this school, there was no paved roads, or potable water, or electricity. And now all of this has changed, because of this alliance that we have created between our foundation, the private sector, and the [national] and local governments. And you know, it was recently reported that the gangs that used to hang in this area have dissolved completely since the school was built. So that is the kind of social impact that these kind of projects have. And that is why I vehemently and passionately advocate for education and for the construction of schools that are state-of-the-art – and that are open to the community … Thatis the whole philosophy that we have in our foundation.”
- Speaking of her her educational foundation, Pias Descalzos (Barefoot), which was named after her third album and has just opened its sixth school in Cartagena, Colombia.
- I always felt that there had to be much more [than] just… shaking it, you know, eternally. Or just making music. Or more even than the pure enjoyment of entertaining someone – being on stage, which is a tremendous rush of adrenaline. But there had to be something else to my life. And I feel that with this work that I do, that’s how my life gets fulfilled. And how I find a purpose to my own existence. And I do feel that music is the platform. It’s become the vehicle that allows me to use my voice to speak about those issues that need urgent attention. I can take the spotlight that shines on me and shift it towards those issues that are infinitely more important than my own issues.