Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The surprising wisdom of Shakira

Who wouldn't know Shakira? She's the fourth richest female singer in the world after Celine Dion. She has won 2 Grammy Awards and 7 Latin Grammy Awards. She has been in music business 20 years of her life: almost all of it because now she's a 30-something and this summer she convinced the world with her amazing hit single "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" which was chosen to be the official World Cup anthem of 2010. It was also a charity song with anti-racism message and Shakira started even a campaign together with Mango and Unicef selling Waka Waka T-shirts with Africa-oriented prints. And by buying this T-shirt you could support Shakira's very own Barefoot Foundation (Fundacion Pies Descalzos) that works with the same idea as Plan but offering education and nutrition for the poor and displaced children and employing their parents. First the foundation concentrated only on helping the children in Shakira's country Colombia but this summer they widened the horizon to devastated Haiti where Barefoot Foundation is building a school and by buying this T-shirt you could support children's education in South Africa.

After her Arabic father was bankrupt they lost even all their furniture and that was of course a shock for 7-years-old Shakira. Then her father took her to the park where he showed her children of her age living in extreme poverty. That was so moving in the little girl's mind that she promised to herself that one day she'd become a well-known artist and she'd help those children, to try to make a difference even if that was to be a little one. So after her first international success with her album Pies Descalzos she fulfilled her promise and established Fundacion Pies Descalzos only as 18-years-old. I appreciate her opinions on social issues: She supports Barack Obama, she works against racism and I find her charity work inspiring as she's also a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador and she's one of the co-founders of another organization ALAS.

Shakira was a young genius: she recorded her first album Magia only as 13-years-old and since then she has co-written her own lyrics and co-composed her own songs. And today she's even a co-producer of her own albums and she plans her own exciting choreographies, Waka Waka dance being the latest. I can't help but admire her creativity and independence as she also chooses her own clothes for photoshoots and performances and she does her own make-up. In the upcoming September she'll be back with a new album Sale El Sol which will deal with deeper issues than she has written ever before about: heartbreak, recovering, surviving, going through struggles and getting out of them and getting stronger. The album will have a strong rock side and it's also flavoured with Latin songs and romantic songs and according to Shakira it reminds her of different stages of her career from Pies Descalzos to Oral Fixation. It's also about celebrating her own culture as she travelled to Dominican Republic in search for inspiration...

She has even launched her first fragrance S by Shakira which contains scents of vanilla, amber, Benzoin, woodsy notes and jasmine. "Just like a song, the perfume is composed of various, individual notes which make harmony", Shakira said to the press. She has said that it's a fragrance for a strong woman with big heart. She launched it in Madrid on June and it will be available worldwide on September. In 2009 there was a rumour about her very first fragrance Amuleto which she launched in France but for some reason it was left as a legend for the most of us as it never reached wider sale.

Behind Shakira's gorgeous looks, dyed blonde hair and amazingly flexible body with hips that don't lie, we can find her surprisingly thoughtful, deep and intelligent person. Despite her huge success she's also modest and positive person with a lot of joy. And no wonder, because she's blessed with so many ways: Unlike other pop singers she hasn't fallen into drugs and immoral sex life as she has been engaged with the same man, Antonio de la Rua, for 9 years. They have a common farm in Uruguay where they together take care of animals, including dogs. Shakira has also 7 siblings and according to my perception she doesn't smoke or even take alcohol to keep herself in good fit. And could you have guessed that her favourite book is "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran? She has even studied history of Western Civilizations in UCLA and she studies languages of the countries she visits. In this post I'll introduce you some Shakira's surprising philosophy from her quotes:

"The cobra is deadly but mongoose can overcome it. We all have possibility to defeat prejudiced and resentment in our lives. Fear is the thing that makes us attack, that makes us strike. We must overcome it. We must."

"I'm lucky to have family around me. Otherwise, I'll be taking the risk of falling in love with myself. But there are always people close to me who I trust, who will scold me and pull my ears if I need it. Fame isolates people from reality. That happens to many artists, and I don't want it to happen to me."

"I'm a believer. I try to be near God, because when I feel that there's a certain distance, everything begins to look like a blur. It makes the road somewhat smoother. When I feel that I'm without God, I have to make an effort to drag my feet to keep on going."

"I admire a person who, for the love of art, is able to take off their clothes in front of a camera. But I'm not capable, I'm too cowardly for that."

"On death: I always tried not to touch that subject, because it would really give me existential anxiety. Death is not only related to the physical death of the body, it's also related to the death of relationships or feelings. Every day, I feel a little bit older, a little less alive, more alive with the possibility of being less alive, closer to death."

"The leaders are lacking love, and love is lacking leaders."

"I always believed that women have rights and that there are some women that are intelligent enough to claim those rights. There are some others that are stupid enough not to. It's as cut-and-dried as that. It doesn't matter if you're a woman or not; in this life, to earn your place you have to fight for it."

"In any woman's life there's a moment when we stand in front of a mirror and we're not happy. It might be when we're 32 and we think about what it will be like being 36, or when we're 36 we might think of being younger. We're never content with the way we are and the way we look. But, if you start loving yourself the way you are, and accepting yourself the way you are, your outlook totally changes."

"My brain, I believe, is the most beautiful part of my body."

"I guess there's many ways to become an enlightened human being, but I guess the shortest path is always through love. And the shortest path to becoming a better person is always through loving someone. If you don't know how to treat the ones that you love then how are you going to treat those that you don't know, or those who are your enemies?"

"A bed is still the first thing I look for when I have 20 free minutes. I still read a book if I have a free hour, and go to a movie if I have four."

"In some moment, I came to fall into the claws of moralism. Something very typical for a Latin-American woman, who has lived in a culture of repression. I thought I had all the answers, I was full of hasty judgments. Today I feel more liberated and open. I'm more tolerant. I respect ideas different to mine. Moralism is a disease. It shouldn't be exactly related to religion - but it is true that my view of religion has also changed lately."

On wanting 2 children:" Sometimes at night, I think of myself with a big belly. That's my happy place. I want to have a huge belly - I crave that!"

"I prefer an ugly truth to a pretty lie. If someone is telling me the truth that is when I will give my heart."

"Writing songs has a therapeutic effect, and it either kills off love or wins the heart of the lover."

"I want to learn how to live in the present eyes open. Because, you know, we always go through the present blindfolded with our hearts in the past and our minds in the future. And that way we never enjoy the here and now."

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