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My Hero is Shakira

Joined: 9/27/2010
Posts: 1
June 10, 2010—Shakira performs her song, “Waka Waka,” the official theme song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. It may be hard to believe that two decades earlier, she had gotten her first big break in an impromptu audition in a hotel lobby. A native of Baranquilla, Colombia, Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll became an international success since her crossover to English in her album Laundry Service. She is in the process of releasing her ninth studio album and her song, “Hips Don’t Lie,” is the best selling song of the 21st century to date. It is because of her music and philanthropy that she is my hero.
Though Shakira is widely known as the woman whose “Hips Don’t Lie,” the majority of the songs she has written profoundly explore her feelings and her attention towards societal issues and religion. Her songs speak to me and there is an eloquence in them, both in English and Spanish, that I hope to be able to achieve one day. The line “All we really need was our bare feet and a pair of wings to fly” is just one example of the intelligent use of rhetorical devices in her songs that amplify the fervency of her songs. On a different note, her song, “Timor,” describes society’s ignorance to third-world countries. Through “Octavo Día,” which describes how on the Eighth Day, God took a break and came back to see the world in chaos and “How Do You Do?” she openly challenges the traditional opinions regarding religion. There is brilliance within each song that easily transcends the lyrics and resonates within the listener.
In spite of her pop star façade, Shakira constantly attempts and succeeds to raise awareness towards the necessity of free education internationally. During a visit to a park with her father when she was a child, she witnessed children as young as her sniffing glue instead of going to school. This became a huge turning point in her life and she vowed to take action. This is similar to an experience I had in my own hometown where I saw first-hand the conditions of schools in third-world countries which included overcrowded classrooms and lack of air-conditioning in 90 to 100 degree weather. At 18 years old, she released her multi-platinum album Pies Descalzos and established a foundation of the same name focused on providing education to poor children of Colombia. Now, her credentials include UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and sponsor of a six million dollar school in her hometown. Her actions have inspired me to set goals to help the education in my home country, the Philippines, which includes building a school in my hometown.
All things considered, she is not only a hugely successful singer; she is also a fervent believer in the right of free education to all children. It is not hard to understand why Shakira is idolized in dozens of Latin American countries.
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