Cos I'm a Gypsy, are you coming with me?
April 26, 2010 7:21 AM   Subscribe

She recently made a speech at the Speech at the Oxford Union; her philanthropy gets a big “pass” from aidwatchers. She tells the Wall Street Journal about it, and she’s spending millions on schools in her home country and beyond. Also she has some wealthy friends joining her. Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll and Pies Descalzos the foundation she founded when she was 18.
posted by adamvasco (54 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks adamvasco. I just gained a some real respect for Shakira.

In 1996, Shakira started investing her own financial resources to reverse this trend. Her Barefoot Foundation began “very small, writing checks for orphanages.” At the time she was 18 and had her first hit in Latin America.

How many artists take their first big paycheck and do this with it?
posted by three blind mice at 7:34 AM on April 26, 2010


I don't like much what she produces, but from now on i'll shut up about it because, well, on account of her being a more-than-decent human being (Don't get me started on Britney, though..)
posted by vivelame at 7:42 AM on April 26, 2010


She's a very cool lady.
posted by Mister_A at 7:49 AM on April 26, 2010


How many artists take their first big paycheck and do this with it?

These slips don't lie.
posted by DU at 7:51 AM on April 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


She's a good person, smart and talented, who has been able to make strategic choices (like going pop, learning English) that have paid out big for her. She seems like someone who doesn't just dabble in social advocacy, but genuinely cares.
posted by Forktine at 7:57 AM on April 26, 2010


I liked her older charity better.
posted by haveanicesummer at 7:57 AM on April 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


when klangklangston used to review music for our local entertainment rag in his former life, I used to give him hell for even playing what I then thought to be mindless girl-pop like Spears and others. Turns out it was Shakira.

klang patiently (cough) explained to me about her filantropía and that she was powered by a fine set of brains. And that had to be around 2001.

I still don't get much into the music, it's just not my style (or Aguilera either, sorry, klang) but I have long admired Shakira for being someone who "uses her powers for good."
posted by beelzbubba at 8:02 AM on April 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


While I genuinely do admire her drive and the accomplishments of her foundation (and her accomplishments as an individual), I'd be lying if I said I didn't admire her most when she's "using her powers" for bonkers.
posted by wreckingball at 8:16 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's not even remotely subtle.
posted by nevercalm at 8:37 AM on April 26, 2010


I'd be lying if I said I didn't admire her most when she's "using her powers" for bonkers.

What the heck is that weird shoulder roll thing she's doing in the cage around 2:55?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:55 AM on April 26, 2010


There should be some sort of symbol to show straight-up appreciation, sort of like the '.' for dead folks. I'm inaugurating the '++'

Shakira ++
posted by leotrotsky at 9:14 AM on April 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Lucky that my lips not only mumble
they spill kisses like a fountain
Lucky that my breasts are small and humble
So you don't confuse them with mountains
Lucky I have strong legs like my mother
To run for cover when i need it
And these two eyes are for no other
The day you leave will cry a river

posted by AwkwardPause at 9:19 AM on April 26, 2010


Vapid, terrible, garbage-pop is still vapid terrible garbage-pop even when the proceeds are going to charity. Ditto for reinforcing gender roles and female body image 'ideals.'

I guess giving some of the money away is more of a net good than not giving any of it away, but this stuff is poisonous dreck no matter what she does with the money.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:21 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, when someone first told me the video for "She Wolf" featured "Shakira doing the robot inside a vagina" I figured that it was some kind of joke or metaphor or something, but I was wrong.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:21 AM on April 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ah, she is the anti Kelsey Grammer and anti Adam Baldwin -- someone whose work I can happily miss, but I actually admire and like as a person.
posted by bearwife at 9:23 AM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


During the speech, Shakira said, "That is how I want the youth of 2060 to see us: That our mission for global peace consisted of sending 30,000 educators to Afghanistan, not 30,000 soldiers. That in 2010, world education became more important than world domination."
posted by Dragonness at 9:26 AM on April 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Half way through the WSJ article is this lovely line:

Neither Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez nor any of the governments that support him were interested.

There is no context to it and it seems like the author just wanted to throw a little "fuck you Hugo Chavez" into an otherwise unrelated story.
posted by nestor_makhno at 9:27 AM on April 26, 2010


In the English-language version of "She-Wolf" she actually uses the word 'lycanthropy".

Not many (admittedly empty and silly) pop songs can pull of something that, um, geeky.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:29 AM on April 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Full paragraph of above excerpt.
Two years ago, Shakira showed up in El Salvador at the annual meeting of Latin American presidents. Word was that all the leaders cared about was getting their picture taken with the star. At the next one in 2009, Shakira fared better in promoting her cause. Colombia, Paraguay, Chile, Panama, Argentina and Mexico signed up to work with ALAS—a foundation started by Shakira and her fiancée to combat poverty—to bolster early childhood education in their countries. Neither Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez nor any of the governments that support him were interested.
...and Fuck You Hugo Chavez.
posted by adamvasco at 9:32 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


And someday I'll master the deadly art of the single-quote. hhhh.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:34 AM on April 26, 2010


Vapid, terrible, garbage-pop is still vapid terrible garbage-pop even when the proceeds are going to charity.

I fully support the shifting of millions of dollars from the supporters of vapid terrible garbage-pop to the world's downtrodden.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:42 AM on April 26, 2010 [16 favorites]


Jesus, paisley. You want a little food to go along with all that haterade?

This is impressive news. If liking Shakira's music costs me cred, I submit that having cred isn't all that fun in the first place. It's really cool that she's trying to spread her good fortune around, especially in the form of the Great Social Equalizer - education. Shakira: ++, Haters: Don't Bother
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:52 AM on April 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Devils Rancher: I fully support the shifting of millions of dollars from the supporters of vapid terrible garbage-pop to the world's downtrodden.

Touché.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:55 AM on April 26, 2010


In the English-language version of "She-Wolf" she actually uses the word 'lycanthropy".

She's got a charity for werewolves, too?

I can't listen to her, but I'm glad she's philanthropic. And lycanthropic, for that matter. Woot and a-woo.
posted by pracowity at 9:56 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Vapid, terrible, garbage-pop is still vapid terrible garbage-pop even when the proceeds are going to charity.

And if you happen to enjoy this music, you are WRONG.

(thanks for warning me, paisley henosis, I might've actually listened some of that kind of fun, fluffy music this summer, and accidentally have fun!)
posted by LooseFilter at 9:58 AM on April 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


So am I the only person on Metafilter who actually likes Shakira's music. Yes? Ok then.
Ditto for reinforcing gender roles and female body image 'ideals.'
It's interesting to me that generally speaking, only women get called out for reinforcing gender roles. When male pop stars behave like stereotypical men, that's not reinforcing gender roles, because masculinity and masculine behavior are seen as neutral.
posted by craichead at 10:55 AM on April 26, 2010 [14 favorites]


Wow, MetaFilter is shockingly proud of its guilty pleasures and even more shockingly willing to ignore sexism and female body image issues when they are inconvenient.

Feel free to pretend that this music is any different from any other toxic pop garbage, but its all the sonic equivalent of Bud Light and Kraft Singles.

I'll just hang out with my craft brew and raw milk cheeses and Zep, missing all the fun, I guess.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:56 AM on April 26, 2010


Wow, MetaFilter is shockingly proud of its guilty pleasures and even more shockingly willing to ignore sexism and female body image issues when they are inconvenient.

Feel free to pretend that this music is any different from any other toxic pop garbage, but its all the sonic equivalent of Bud Light and Kraft Singles.

I'll just hang out with my craft brew and raw milk cheeses and Zep, missing all the fun, I guess


Really? I've seen plenty of people in this thread say they dislike Shakira's music; they even managed to do it without being a pretentious ass.

Also, no one fucking cares what kind of cheese you eat.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:17 AM on April 26, 2010 [12 favorites]


When a pop star makes piles of cash from her skills (singing and dancing), does not use said money to self-destruct, and instead sinks a ton of it into ensuring that there are schools for impoverished kids that need them, she's.... being antifeminist?

This logic does not resemble our Earth logic.
posted by cmyk at 11:35 AM on April 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


cmyk: When a pop star makes piles of cash from her skills (singing and dancing), does not use said money to self-destruct, and instead sinks a ton of it into ensuring that there are schools for impoverished kids that need them, she's.... being antifeminist?

No, commercial pop music is anti-humanity.

But whatever to this, her music sucks and whatever good she does with the money is, inherently, balanced by the bad she does polluting society with it, which makes me up-tight, unable to have fun and a snob. So be it.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:41 AM on April 26, 2010


I'll just hang out with my craft brew and raw milk cheeses and Zep, missing all the fun, I guess.
Huh. I'm just a Bud-Light-and-Kraft-singles-consuming prole, so what do I know, but I don't think that Led Zepellin would be my example of a band that was unproblematic on gender issues!
posted by craichead at 11:42 AM on April 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


No, commercial pop music is anti-humanity.

I'm inclined to agree with you, paisley, but I'd through Led Zeppelin right in that cesspool of "commercial pop music". That said, I enjoy some Zep, and I enjoy some pop ear-candy regardless of the gender of the artist and regardless of whether it is used to sell Cadillacs or Wonka Crisps.

That's a pretty high horse you're riding, watch that first step, it's a doozy.
posted by beelzbubba at 11:53 AM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


through throw. there, FTFM
posted by beelzbubba at 11:55 AM on April 26, 2010


There I'd nothing wrong with pop music, bud light, or Kraft singles. There may be a problem if it's the only kinds available, but drinking a bud light is not an immoral action (I speak this as an amateur brewer), and neither is producing a pop song. It might not be your speed, but in no way is it objectively "toxic".

In short, not only are you a snob, you're not even right.

posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:58 AM on April 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Sorry, left the italics on. None of that is quoted. *goes back to eating mental cotton candy*
posted by Lord Chancellor at 12:00 PM on April 26, 2010


There I'd nothing wrong with pop music, bud light, or Kraft singles.

When I was 16, I would have told you that there was no greater pleasure in life than a straight Kraft single, straight from the plastic. Seriously, I'd eat four or five a day. In retrospect, it's a miracle that I'm only mildly overweight.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:03 PM on April 26, 2010


But whatever to this, her music sucks and whatever good she does with the money is, inherently, balanced by the bad she does polluting society with it, which makes me up-tight, unable to have fun and a snob. So be it.

I really disagree with the idea that any good she does (e.g., you know, combating poverty) is completely balanced by the bad she does in polluting society with her music.

Even assuming she weren't doing any good outside of her music, though, I don't think that just because her music is bad (which I don't necessarily concede) it makes it completely worthless; people enjoy it and it makes them happy, so I'd say that's a net good. Same with a lot of shitty books, movies and television shows; I might fucking hate them and think they make the world a worse place but you know what? I'm wrong, because they bring people joy and there's enough shit that sucks that if there's something, even something vapid, that makes people happy and doesn't hurt anyone beyond a vague "polluting society with their inferior artistic product!", it seems to me like it's a good thing.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:15 PM on April 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


craichead: It's interesting to me that generally speaking, only women get called out for reinforcing gender roles. When male pop stars behave like stereotypical men, that's not reinforcing gender roles, because masculinity and masculine behavior are seen as neutral.

I don't know if I agree with the part that comes after "because," but the rest of this comment is spot on.

craichead, you've enlightened me. Thanks.
posted by three blind mice at 12:20 PM on April 26, 2010


I have a lot of respect for her good work, but I'm still not convinced that she's not Charo as played by some weird gene splicing of Gloria Trevi and Jenna Jameson.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:32 PM on April 26, 2010


"polluting society," paisley? Holy christ, settle down. There's nothing in the world more tedious than someone hating on pop music.

Fun, snappy songs that a lot of people have a blast dancing to? An artist that turns around and applies her success to the greater good? FUCK THAT, IT NOT SRS MUSIC. WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE ZEITGEIST?
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:08 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait a second, listening to "Zep" entitles you to be a condescending prick about social quality vis a vis pop music? Well, god damn. I wonder what listening to Maiden gets you, probably an authority on theology and quantum physics.

That is some damn fine trolling, if I do say so myself.
posted by Talanvor at 1:33 PM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: no one fucking cares what kind of cheese you eat.
posted by jquinby at 1:40 PM on April 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


which makes me up-tight, unable to have fun and a snob.

No, it makes you sound like an asshole, not a snob, because you're invalidating other people's experiences simply because you find no value in their means to that experience. Consider this (and this really is more of a response than a knee-jerk attitude deserves, but man is this a pet peeve): I've written detailed analyses of major 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st century concert works of great complexity and craft, musical works that are lauded far and wide, across centuries; I've performed them in concert with much success. I understand in very fine detail what makes great music (caveat: in western culture) great. I am an expert in music, truly, with multiple degrees and everything. AND YET I often also really enjoy well done, fluffy, lightweight pop music with genuine enthusiasm.

So am I wrong to enjoy what I enjoy? Given my expertise, is it as easy for you to dismiss the validity of my own experiences? (Could you even entertain the possibility that I'm hearing things in that music that you completely miss?) Your comments indicate that you believe your judgment is unimpeachable, when it most certainly is not. Your perspective smacks of extraordinary artistic dogmatism, and I find that distasteful. I draw no further conclusions about your character. (Also, the issues of sexism etc. are tangential to your pronouncements on the music; I make no comment on those.)
posted by LooseFilter at 2:46 PM on April 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Wow, MetaFilter is shockingly proud of its guilty pleasures and even more shockingly willing to ignore sexism and female body image issues when they are inconvenient.

Sexism...you keep using that word, but I'm not sure you know what it means.

And your body image shit is unbelievable. How is your judging Shakira's body any less offensive than judging an obese or significantly underweight woman's body? Maybe it's time to put down the craft brew, get off your high horse, and...I don't even know what to say about the cheese.
posted by tastybrains at 3:02 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, let me see if I've got this straight ...

1) A woman is antifeminist and reinforcing dangerous body image stereotypes when she writes songs with lyrics including:

"Next to her cheap silicon I look minimal / That's why in front of your eyes I'm invisible / But you gotta know small things also count"

"I’ve been devoting myself to you Monday to Monday and Friday to Friday / Not getting enough retribution or decent incentives to keep me at it / Starting to feel just a little abused / Like a coffee machine in an office"

2) Because the above mentioned songs are so "poisonous" in their antifeminism -- or possibly because they are performed by a singer who is considered to be pretty, I'm not sure exactly what they argument being made here is -- they are equal and opposite in impact to (if not worse than) the millions of dollars and hundreds of hours the performer devotes to charity work for impoverished children.

3) Pop music *I* like is *WORTHY*! Pop music lots of people like, but *I* do not, is not only *UNWORTHY*, it is actually *DANGEROUS*!

I see.
posted by kyrademon at 3:10 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everybody shut right the fuck up about Led Zeppelin, or... something. It'll be a spectacle. This is not 'Nam -- there are rules, here.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:56 PM on April 26, 2010


Can we get back to talking about Shakira instead of hating on the haters? Please?

Mmm, Shakira.
posted by WalterMitty at 5:17 PM on April 26, 2010


Talanvor: That is some damn fine trolling, if I do say so myself.

Cheers!
posted by paisley henosis at 5:32 PM on April 26, 2010


I like the cut of your jib, WalterMitty - here's my favorite old Shakira song, performed live under a GIANT FUCKING METAL COBRA.
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:33 PM on April 26, 2010


The Oxford Union usually has Q&A after a guest speech. Does anyone know if anyone has posted the Q&A? Education as right is an extremely contentious issue in student groups in the UK right now, and I would love to see how she fielded questions from the Conservatives, Labour club students, and Socialist Workers alike.
posted by honest knave at 5:46 PM on April 26, 2010


I wonder what listening to Maiden gets you probably an authority on theology and quantum physics.

And fencing, Egyptology, the Crimean War, the Samuel Taylor Coleridge
poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"...shit, Iron Maiden is Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Yale all rolled into one. Up The Irons!!!
posted by MikeMc at 6:11 PM on April 26, 2010


Does either the sexual politics or the vapid terribleness of garbage-pop do real, measurable, quantifiable, damage in any way? Because Shakira's charity efforts are doing real, measurable, quantifiable good in the world... it's hard (for me) to take seriously arguments that claim some invisible and unmeasurable bad outweighs a quantifiable good.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 8:31 AM on April 27, 2010


Shakira traveled to Phoenix, AZ today to meet with the mayor and chief of police, as with Hispanic families in the area who will be affected by the law. They held a press conference condemning the new immigration law. She can record as much trashy pop music as she wants to, in my opinion. The woman kicks ass.
posted by EarBucket at 4:26 PM on April 29, 2010


She writes well and passionately, too: Shakira's column about the Arizona law, from 4/30/2010.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:27 AM on May 2, 2010


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