Latino Studies Shakira
Cary O’Dell
  • LAST REVIEWED: 25 July 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 July 2023
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199913701-0277


Shakira (nee Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll), born 2 February 1977, in Barranquilla, Columbia, is a singer, prolific songwriter, musician, record producer, actress, voice actress (Zootopia, 2016), television personality, television producer, philanthropist, and humanitarian. Known internationally as the “Queen of Latin Music,” she is a multiple Grammy Award winner, multiple Latin Grammy Award winner, multiple Billboard Music Award winner, and MTV Video Music Award winner, as well as the possessor of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and several mentions in the Guinness Book of World Records, among other accolades. Having begun her professional performing career in her native Columbia, Shakira released her first album, Magia (1991) for Sony Music Columbia when she was thirteen years old. Her subsequent Latin recordings include Peligro (1993), Pies Descalzos (1995), and Donde Estan los Ladrones? (1998). Shakira entered the American marketplace in 2001 with her fifth album, the English-language Laundry Service, which would eventually sell over ten million copies. Her subsequent albums, recorded in English or Spanish and sometimes in both languages, have sold in excess of 80 million copies. In 2018, Forbes magazine designated Shakira as the best-selling Latin artist of all time. Along with Laundry Service, Shakira’s other albums include the Spanish-language Fijacion Oral, Vol. 1 (2005), Sale el Sole (2010) and El Dorado (2017). Her English-language releases include Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 (2005), She Wolf (2009) and Shakira (2014). As a collaborator, Shakira has worked with Maluma, Wyclef Jean, Rhianna, Pitbull, the Black Eyed Peas, and Beyonce, among others. Shakira is one of the world’s more recently minted global superstars, a categorization that was solidified by her co-headlining the February 2020 Super Bowl halftime show with Jennifer Lopez, her reoccurring involvement with the World Cup, and her role on two nonsequential seasons as one of the judges/coaches on the hit NBC-TV musical competition series The Voice. Subsequently, Shakira acted as both co-creator/co-producer of the 2022 reality competition show Dancing with Myself, where she also acted as a judge. In 1997, Shakira founded the Columbian-based Barefoot Foundation (Pies Fundacion Descalozos). Its mission is “to ensure that every Colombian child can exercise their right to a quality education. Our model targets displaced and vulnerable communities by addressing their unique needs.” Since its establishment, the foundation has created twenty-seven schools and educational spaces in Columbia that have provided both food and education to over 100,000 impoverished children.

General Survey

Though, in these volumes, Shakira may not be mentioned, her music (and, with it, her celebrity and influence) is built upon the foundations and intricacies of Latin music. (A genre she has also help to expand and popularize.) Hence, these historical surveys give a necessary, thorough review and provide a structure on which to approach Shakira as a musical artist and cultural force. Clark and Moore 2012, provides a full history of music generated from Latin countries, while Hess 2018 and McCarthy and Sansoe 2004, as well as Morales 2003, explore those musics’ exportation/importation to America. Rivera and Marshall 2009, focus on the advent of the reggaeton genre, of which Shakira is one of its greatest disciples/advocates/originators.

  • Clark, Walter Aaron, and Robin Moore, eds. Musics of Latin America. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012.

    Illustrated, multi-author guide to Latin American music covering traditional, popular, and classical repertoire. Also includes an in-text listening guide. This particular book includes an expanded mentioning of Shakira, especially a look at her single “La tortura.” Her work—and American success—is discussed/compared/contrasted with fellow Colombian performer Juanes.

  • Hess, Carol. Experiencing Latin American Music. Oakland: University of California Press, 2018.

    DOI: 10.1525/9780520961005

    Book intended for the classroom but which expands beyond sheer musicology to address interrelated topics related to Latin music like identity, the body, religion, and more. Comes with companion Spotify guide. Shakira is not specifically mentioned within this work.

  • McCarthy, Jim, and Ron Sansoe. Voices of Latin Rock: The People and Events That Shaped the Sound. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard, 2004.

    America’s experience with the Latin American sound is explored in this work, which charts its founding fathers Santana and Malo from their San Francisco origins to their worldwide fame. (Shakira is specifically not mentioned in this work.)

  • Morales, Ed. The Latin Beat: The Rhythms and Roots of Latin Music from Bossa Nova to Salsa and Beyond. New York: Da Capo, 2003.

    Historical perspective on the long influence of Latin elements in the landscape of American popular music.

  • Rivera, Raquel Z., and Wayne Marshall, et al. Reggaeton. Durham, NC: Duke University, 2009.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822392323

    Exploration, both cultural and musical, of the recent musical genre “reggaeton” born from hip-hop, Latin, and Caribbean music influences.

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