Born on February 2nd 1977, in Barranquilla Colombia, Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, is one of the most successful female Latin singer. With a Lebanese father and Colombian mother, Shakira honors her Latino and Arabic heritage with the music that she produces. She wrote her first song at the age of 8 and signed her first record deal at 13. Shakira later became a music superstar in the Spanish-language countries; she was known for her strong vocals and incredible hip-shaking belly dance moves. She was very popular in countries all over the world, but she had not reached the top pop charts in the United States yet. According to Sony, the music record label, Shakira is the highest-selling Colombian artist of all time, having sold between 50 to 60 million albums. Shakira was a very important, and influential figure in the Latina community.
In addition to her busy career, Shakira along with other international groups and individuals created the Pies Descalzos Foundation. The Pies Descalzos is a Colombian charity with special schools for poor children all around Colombia. The name of the foundation was named and taken from Shakira’s third studio album called “Pies Descalzos”, which was released in 1995. Through out her career, Shakira has performed in many benefit concerts, she’s sang at a Party in the Park concert fundraising for the Prince’s Trust. That same year she performed at Divas Live, which supports VH1’s Save the Music Foundation. On May 17, 2008, Shakira and twenty other Latin American and Spanish artists performed in Buenos Aires and Mexico City to raise money for Shakira’s Latin America in Solidarity Action “America Latina en Accion Solidaria” also known as the ALAS Foundation charity; the concert attracted 150,000 people in Buenos Aires.
She is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and was awarded a UN International Labor Organization medal in 2010 for her all of her philanthropic efforts. Shakira was against the implementation of the Arizona statute SB1070 against illegal immigration, saying that it goes against civil rights. Shakira is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and is one of their global representatives. “Shakira, like all of the other Goodwill Ambassadors, was chosen based on her compassion, her involvement in global issues, her deep commitment to helping children, and her appeal to young people around the world.” In March 2010, she was awarded a medal by the UN International Labor Organization in
recognition of being, as UN Labor Chief Juan Somavia put it, a “true ambassador for children and young people, for quality education and social justice.”
In November 2010, after performing as the opening act of the MTV European Music Awards, the Colombian singer also received the MTV Free Your Mind award for her continuing dedication to improve access to education for all children around the world. Even in recent years, Shakira is still being recognized for her hard work. On October 5, 2011, US President Barack Obama announced that Shakira was appointed as a member of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.