16. Latinas and Music (Part 2)

November 8
READ: Fuchs, Cynthia. “‘There’s My Territory’: Shakira Crossing Over.” From Bananas to Buttocks: The Latina Body in Popular Film and Culture. Ed. Myra Mendible. Austin: U of Texas P, 2007.
DISCUSSION: Skylar Smith, Jeremy Kaplan & Morgan Kamm

Shakira (presentation)


“6 QUESTIONS with SHAKIRA.”

By: COBO, LEILA. Billboard. 11/12/2011, Vol. 123 Issue 41, p55-55. 1/2p. Abstract: The article presents an interview with singer Shakira, who discusses topics including social media, her philanthropic works, and her experience writing and recording songs. (AN: 67227488)

On Nov. 9, 34-year-old Colombian star Shakira will be honored as the Latin Recording Academy’s Person of the Year, in recognition not only of her artistic and musical achievements but also of her multiple and broad-reaching philanthropic endeavors. From ” Waka Waka,” the World Cup anthem whose video is the fourth-most-viewed of all time on YouTube, to her recent appointment to President Barack Obama’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, no other female artist has been able to so seamlessly manage onstage sex appeal with offstage philanthropy and purpose. Shakira spoke with Billboard about her many faces.

1 You’ve been on the road for more than a year. What’s next?
I already started to write new material. I’ve begun to explore in the recording studio whenever I have time in Barcelona and here in Miami. I’m working with different producers and DJs, and I try to feed off from that and find new sources of inspiration and new musical motivation. I’m anxious to return to the studio. My body is asking for it.

2 You have 10 million Twitter followers, and more than 41 million Facebook likes. What are your thoughts on social media?
From politics to philanthropy and music to movements, we are able to make the world a better place because of social media, and even better, it can happen in real time. It’s not just about me connecting to my fans, or them to me; it’s also about them connecting to one another. Creating bonds, global bonds, communities. It’s a vehicle that grants us all the ability to relate to one another regardless of where we are in the world, what our backgrounds are or what we do. It’s democracy at its best. One of human nature’s simplest, more primitive desires is to be connected with other people, and here we have it on such a huge, global scale–it’s amazing.

3 Through Pies Descalzos (the Barefoot Foundation), you operate six schools in Colombia. What drives you?
From the onset, it was clear to me that my foundation would deal with education, with creating schools where there’s no government presence, where there’s no hope. It’s frustrating to see that in Latin America and in other developing countries education is treated as a luxury instead of being recognized as a fundamental right. How is it possible that there are children who don’t get enough to eat in Latin America, a continent whose agricultural production has the capacity to feed our entire population three times over? There are so many intelligent, vibrant children who can’t develop their potential. I believe every child is born with a talent. We each come to the world with a gift, and society crushes people’s possibilities to shine.

4 You’re also a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and co-founder of ALAS-the Latin American Foundation in Solidarity Action.
I’ve always focused on education. I’ve tried not to dilute my efforts. With ALAS, I’ve discovered throughout the years as I’ve studied the subject that the younger the child, the greater the capacity to learn and to develop mentally and physically. It’s the time when you need the most affection in your life. You need adequate nutrition, education and stimulation. Having governments invest in this vulnerable sector of the population determines a nation’s development. We support government initiatives and we get together with presidents and ministers to see how far we can go and how we can increase social investment in early childhood education, for children between 0 and 6 years old.

5 How do you reconcile your sexy onstage persona with your academic, philanthropic and educational side?
I don’t think I’m like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I still wear a pencil skirt to the White House, and you don’t know how much a pencil skirt can do. But obviously the entertainment world is one thing and what I do with social concerns and children is another. But I’ve wanted to take advantage of my status as a public person to meet with the gatekeepers, with people who influence the world and in some way or another determine its course in the short and long term. I want to take advantage of this status and deal with things that are more important than myself, that are life-or-death issues.

6 You don’t have much free time, but when you do, what do you do to relax?
I spend time with my family. My guilty pleasures are romantic comedies and bad movies. The worse they are, the better.
~~~~~~~~
By LEILA COBO
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Please make sure to refer specifically to the Cynthia Fuch’s article and/or Leila Cobo’s interview of Shakira in your post. Also, please fee free to respond to Morgan, Jeremy & Skyler’s discussion of the topic. If you want to bring any additional resources, please cite accordingly.

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52 Responses to 16. Latinas and Music (Part 2)

  1. rserreti says:

    In the article it says, “In other ways, the usual way to promote a foreign “product” in the United States is to display its conformity to traditional, unthreatening “American” values while also titillating potential consumers with sexy innuendo and exoticism” (171). This shows something that Shakira did when she came popular in the United States. Many people were against this because they felt that she was becoming too Americanized and she was moving away from her natural ethnicity. In the discussion in class, we talked about Shakira’s crossover. It is very apparent that she made a huge change to fit in with the “American” culture. When she did her crossover, she changed her appearance as well as began singing in English.

    Also, throughout the class discussion I also learned about Shakira’s beginnings. Before this discussion, I did not really know that Shakira once had brown hair and sang only in Spanish. In order to be accepted and liked in America, she had to switch from Spanish to English. This was a huge problem because people thought she should embrace her ethnicity. Many people from Latin America started not to listen to her because she changed everything about her. This shows the affect that American culture can have Latina women in music.

    • Katie Blake says:

      Though Shakira has become more Americanized, I still think that she has made an effort to stay connected to her Latin roots, such as through her charities and bilingual performances, and I think that her fans should appreciate that. I can understand why she, as an artist, would want to assimilate a bit to the American culture in order to target multiple markets.

      • carolynluby says:

        I think that she encountered immense pressure from higher ups and producers to become more “americanized”, and that changed her image. She reached a point in her career where she, and her producers and label, could have stayed with one audience or they could have expanded their audience to include the massive United States music market. They chose to expand, and in order to reach high fame in America she had to make herself more marketable, per say, to that audience. She has never lost herself completely in it though, as you see with some other artists, as she has still maintained a certain identity of who “shakira” is. Shakira has achieved a status of world wide fame that few have ever reached, and I think had she not “marketed” herself to fit multiple audiences she would not have acquired such a renowned fame in our generation. It came down to, I suppose, what she wanted to strive for- and where she wanted to sit among famous singers, and famous latina singers, that have left a bold mark on the music industry forever.

      • I also think that Shakira has made some drastic changes since the beginning of her career however she did not completely abandoned here Latin side. Like any other singer, Shakira was trying to make herself known and by doing this she had to change her music in order to be successful.

      • Stacey Pecor says:

        Yes Katie you make a good point especially how Shakira stays connected to her roots especially with her charities. I think more artists should incorporate things like this to connect with fans and do something positive for communities. Kids especially look up to artists as role models and they should be known for more than their singing/performing talent, but also giving back to communities and charities. Becoming Americanized does not mean to lose these traits. I understand her changing and “re-inventing” herself in the American culture but overall it’s most important the act of kindness and impact one can have on fans without completely leaving behind her roots or transforming as a person.

      • joserfigueroa says:

        I agree with carolynluby completely. Had Shakira maintained her original style, I doubt she would have gained as much success as she has now. Though I do think she conformed to the American culture, she has remained true to her Latin roots incorporating her culture into her music. She definitely chooses to highlight the sexual aspect of that culture but she also is one of the only Latinas in pop music today so what does that say about the consumers? Shakira played to her strengths and did what she had to do in order to be successful in this country’s environment. I think the philanthropic work Shakira does for Colombian schools and with UNICEF definitely says a lot about Shakira’s character and shows that she is more than just a sexually, non-educated Latin pop star.

    • sorlyz says:

      I believe that Shakira probably changed in order to fit into the American Music Industry, but also, maybe it was a change of pace for her. When she began her career, Shakira was a dark haired rocker chick. It is possible that her move to the United States was a chance for her to kind of “re-invent” herself. This change is made by many artists in the music industry. For example, Usher teaming up with DJ David Guetta expanded Usher’s fan base.

  2. Stacey Pecor says:

    On page 171 of the article “There’s my Territory”, Shakira states “I don’t feel that I’m artistically similar to anybody right now. I have a unique musical proposal”(Tannenbaum 2001/2002). I can agree to this to some extent. I think Shakira does a good job of showing her uniqueness and crossing over and “rebirth” in to the U.S. with her song Whenever, Wherever. She emerges from the water as this blonde, sexy, Latin American woman belly dancing. Relating to the quote, in my opinion, the only thing truly setting her apart from other pop stars like Britney Spears is her background from Columbia and singing in Spanish. As we stated in class, most people wouldn’t know that she actually writes her own songs, plays the guitar and the piano. These are great qualities and should be incorporated on to her album covers or music videos to embrace her talent make it more known. For example, Alica Keys is an artist who we can clearly relate to her musical talent to the piano. Shakira is definitely very talented in this way but also is similar to other pop stars because they were her competition and she needed to be somewhat similar to them because that’s what is most popular at the time and drives the fan base. Although she has her unique musical proposal, I’d say she is similar to other pop stars. At the same time, it’s interesting to see how she was Americanized with the blonde hair and in some photos whitewashed. Although Shakira is known for her “hips don’t lie” and dancing, she is not as curvy and voluptuous as other Latina women we have discussed in this class (like Sofia Vergara or Jennifer Lopez).

    Relating to the interview questions listed above, I had no idea that she operates six schools in Columbia through the Barefoot Foundation. I like the fact how she states she takes advantage and deals with “things that are more important than myself, that are life-or-death issues”. This definitely shows how she is still very much connected to Columbia and her roots to Latin America.

    • Even though some people says about Shakira already lost all connections to her Latina roots, I think it is not all true because even though she dye her hair blond, she still cares about her country, Colombia and she tries to help in anyway possible. In her early years as a singer, her hair was black but I guess she needed to dye her hair yellow because that’s how Americans see as beauty and she wanted to be connected with a lot of people from America and from her country too.

    • sorlyz says:

      I think it’s amazing that Shakira is so involved with helping her community back in Colombia. I hope that her fans that once criticized her for becoming more “Americanized”, realize that she still loves and does things for her fellow Colombians.

  3. Katie Blake says:

    On page 4 of the article, Shakira says “I’m not pretending to be American. How could I? I am Colombian. Everyone knows and nothing will change that. I would never abandon the Latin community. The Latin fans know me and tolerate me, and forgive my mistakes. That’s the type of relationship I want to build with my Anglo fans now.”

    I feel that this quote is important because it shows Shakira’s willingness both to be a versatile entertainer in trying to appeal to multiple ethnic audiences and still remain loyal to her Latin roots. I think that Shakira seems to be a genuine person. Other mainstream Latina artists seem as though they only want to be famous among citizens of the U.S. and try to target only that audience. Shakira , on the other hand, works hard to gain fans from multiple backgrounds. Shakira was famous among Latin Americans before she was famous in mainstream music in the U.S., so she had to work hard to become famous in the U.S. She learned English and dyed her hair to try to appeal to audiences in the U.S. Yet she still remains true to her Latin fans

    In fact, Shakira uses her “celebrity to showcase her diverse background.” (Page 3) While she must have been pressured to conform to U.S. culture, she still showcases her Colombian roots. Her appearances are often bilingual to target multiple markets. For example, on page 3 of the article it states that of the multiple cds she has produced, one is entirely in Spanish while another is in English.

    • stephaniegiannoutsos says:

      I agree that that quote from page 4 of the article is very important. It really shows that Shakira is a real person that genuinely cares about her wide fan base. She would never abandon her identity and culture just for stardom and I feel like this is very valuable in a business filled with fake people. She knows that she has made mistakes in her career but she is owning those mistakes and saying that she’s trying her best. Making the cross-over into the English-speaking world was probably a very hard and scary decision for herself and her career but I feel like she handled it all very well.

      • rserreti says:

        I also agree with this post. It shows the struggle that Shakira is feeling due to her cross over. Although she did cross over, she is still reaching out to the people of her cultural roots and she is not disowning them. She still is thanksful for all of their support and all her loyal fans. This article showed that Shakira generally cared about every single person of her fan base unlike some well-known pop singers.

    • Lucia Parisi says:

      I agree that Shakira seems to be more genuine than most Latin artists. Even though her music changed as well as her image to fit in, she does more for her community than other celebrities. She is using her new more popular image to help the less fortunate. To give back to her community, she donated 10,000 pairs of shoes to to the impoverished children in her hometown.

    • I agree that the quote is important because it shows that even though Shakira change alot of things externally like her body or hair, she stills keeps her nationality as a columbian and made also spanish songs to make people see that she is true to her nationality. She did some English songs, since she is in United States but even if people in newspapers tells Shakira that she is already a full fledged American, she keeps saying to them that no matter what she does, she will always be columbian no matter what people say about her. It is good that Shakira doesn’t give up her roots because those roots is what made her famous and made her into a great person.

    • This quote stood out to me while reading the article as well and thought it was very important. It could be very difficult for artists like Shakira who are trying to assimilate to a different culture especially one getting involved in such a cut throat industry with other competitive singers. Even though Shakira has changed since the beginning of her career, she does make it clear that her Latina roots and her Latin fans are essential aspects in her life.

    • Kiara Morales says:

      The quote in the article was very profound for me because it showed a side of Shakira that was relatable. She is dealing with a side of her that is very proud of her latina roots and is very genuine to where she comes from, and she also embraces American audiences, and knows that she has to build a relationship with them too. I thought it was a very insightful analyses between the relationship with her career and her art, in the one hand she has wants to is in many respects her own identity but at the same time, she needs to explore when given the opportunity.

    • alexandriagarry says:

      I completely agree that this is an important piece to know about Shakira. Before this discussion the only thing I knew about her was that her hips don’t lie. After reading these articles and discussing her in class it is clear to me that she is an extremely savvy business woman. She has certainly transcended cultures and although some of her Latin fan base could argue she “sold out”, she still stays true to her Latina identity making it clear that she is Columbian and releasing songs in Spanish and contributing to the Columbian community with her philanthropic work.

  4. stephaniegiannoutsos says:

    I really enjoyed the answers Shakira gave in the interview with Leila Cobo. It was very comforting to learn that she gives so much back to the community. There are so many stars who become rich and famous and forget where they came from. They go out and spend all of their money on fancy cars and huge mansions when they could be spending it on programs to help better peoples’ lives. I had no idea that Shakira was such a huge participator in these charitable organizations like ALAS, UNICEF, and operating six schools in Colombia. You definitely do not get that image of her by just watching her music videos of her half naked shaking her hips all over the place, but reading all of the things she does has made her grow as a person in my eyes. It makes me her seem like a true, genuine artist that uses her talent and fame to help her fans and her country.

    • violettaorlowski says:

      I agree that we don’t get this image of her being a philanthropist through her videos. In the article she was quoted as saying that she uses the cameras as a way of spreading her thoughts, but how much of her thoughts and talents are really being expressed if she is being molded into this image of what a “pop-star” should be?. If her “underneath it all video” was really about male dominance and etc., she should have made a different kind of video that didn’t necessarily show her sitting on a couch looking pretty. It’s a shame how much control music labels have with artists, and how they have to give in to these pressures in order to succeed.

      • stephaniegiannoutsos says:

        Yes i agree! If she wants to portray greater meanings to her videos and songs then she definitely could make them in a much different way to get her point across. Sitting on a couch looking pretty does not give the audience the message that she intended. And it definitely is a shame how much control music labels have over their artists!

  5. violettaorlowski says:

    In class, we discussed how Shakira might have been seen as a sell-out. Shakira has been placed in similar categories as artists such as Britney Spears, Beyonce, or Alanis Morisette (back when she first started). She went from singing folk rock with her guitar to synthesized beats and “pop” hits that are played all over the radio and in clubs, but we as a society, have given into these standards. Someone brought up an interesting question, asking “Would she have made it in America if she kept her rock roots?”, and part of me would say she could have based on her talent and the fact that she would have been a breath of fresh air in a way. She would have offered a different style of music, one that we as Americans might not be used to hearing in the mainstream media. A truly talented person would not need to give into the sexualized music industry (such as Adele). Many artists evolve and transition over their careers until they are fully comfortable with the artists they have become. I’m sure that with time, Shakira can now use her fame to take risks with her music and expand it.

    • Ernie Abreu says:

      Shakira is a very talented woman that used her gorgeous looks and body and switched her music to cater to her body. We all know that sex sales, and quite honestly, most women musicians rely heavily on this and Shakira is no different. Unfortunately, Shakira followed the trend of performing pop music in order to target a bigger audience. By no means, am I judging her. Like Sofia Vergara, Shakira used her best trait to make her mark in the world. But I feel like she lost her roots, her true desire of making music. She didn’t stay true to her music and the things she believed and talked about in her old rock self. Nowadays, she is focused on shaking her hips to seduce a bigger crowd. That why I believe that Shakira would not have made in America, if she stayed to her old roots. In America, sex sales. Her transformation from a brunette to blonde, and from spanish rock to pop is an example of how America forced her to change in order to be more successful. Because she “Americanized”, she is seen in MTV awards, instead of the Premios Cassandra. Did she change for the better? That is a different questions. But she wouldn’t have been an Adele, if she sticked to her roots, because that music isn’t appreciated by much Americans.

      • Lucia Parisi says:

        I agree that Shakira lost her roots. Even though she is more genuine than most artists, she completely changed the way she makes music. She started out playing the guitar with her band and now she is a solo artist whose greatest talent is belly dancing. People don’t know that she can play instruments and write her own songs. She put herself in that position by making her belly dancing the focus of her carer.

    • You make a great point when you say, “A truly talented person would not need to give into the sexualized music industry (such as Adele).” I agree with you because she made this switch in order to become more famous and make more money. This isn’t the authentic Shakira and it is disappointing that she doubted her skills and made this drastic transformation.

      • Kelvin Li says:

        I do agree that Shakira did have to “Americanize” herself to appeal to Americans, but appealing to new audiences by conforming a bit is part of the music industry. It is easy for American artists to expand their fan base to other countries because other countries have to learn at least basic english. Shakira had to learn English because she wouldn’t gain popularity singing in a language not all Americans. Although her music has more of a pop sound, she still has a folk sound to it. In her song, Whenever Wherever, the acoustics have a very folk sound and in her song “Objection Tango,” she is playing the guitar. It seems she always tries to incorporate something of her roots to her songs and videos. Her belly dancing is part of her roots. Shakira is half Lebanese and belly dancing is part of the culture. She has always belly danced, it just has been more sexualized in the US by her skimpy outfits because sex sells.

      • joserfigueroa says:

        I do agree that Shakira conformed to American Pop culture but I do not think its fair to call that conformity disappointing. I think more focus should be on how we as an American culture value talent. Obviously, Shakira is very talented as she can actually sing, can play instruments, writes her own music and is able to dance. She was forced to conform to OUR country’s standards and as we all have said, we don’t believe she would have been as successful had she continued with her original style. What does that say about America? Shakira is just another artist who fell in the cycle of the American system similar to musicians such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. These women all try so hard to remain “perfect” and that is not realistic. I wish Shakira would include her talents outside of hip shaking in her performances but I do not blame her and do not consider her a disappointment to the Latin@ community.

      • joserfigueroa says:

        Also, if you look at other Latina women in music you can see similarities to Shakira’s “sell out.” Jennifer Lopez started as a dancer and small actress but after her role in Selena, she conformed to Americas standards and re-invented her brand. She used her sexuality to sell her music and portrayed roles stereotypical in the Latina community. Even looking at Selena, who was famous during the late 80’s and early 90’s, can show that there is a cycle that forces celebrities, particular women, to conform in order to be successful.

  6. Lindsey Honig says:

    In the article by Cynthia Fuchs, she cites a quote from Shakira. She previously said “there is a bridge between me and my new audience at the moment…I want to show them who the real Shakira is” (page 168). To me, this quote encompasses much of the controversy surrounding Shakira as a musical artist, with her “new audience” being the United States fanbase. On the one hand, it is entirely possible that “Shakira 2.0,” or the version of herself created for a mainstream US audience is the real version of herself. On the other hand, her transformation could have been more a part of a strategy to be successful to a mass audience.

    In my opinion, I think the truth lies somewhere between those two theories. I don’t think Shakira can really be accused of “selling out” her roots because I’m assuming the Alanis Morissette-type music she initially produced wasn’t mainstream in Colombia, either. Rather, I think that she saw her move from South to North America as an opportunity to redefine herself. She could have stuck with the more alternative rock music, but if she wanted to evolve as an artist, what better time to do so than when you are switching locations? The problem with this is that in the modern era of globalization, music is available on a truly global scale, so her old fans have seen her change to fit the mainstream pop mold.

    • alexandriagarry says:

      I agree with you that her transformation was both a chance to redefine herself as an artist and to fit into what is expected in mainstream american pop. I also think that her switch was strategic in her switch to English music. She is a smart business woman and has been able to navigate her transition despite some of the initial negative responses from the media.

  7. alexandriagarry says:

    In “6 QUESTIONS with SHAKIRA.” By Leila Coba, Shakira is asked, “How do you reconcile your sexy onstage persona with your academic, philanthropic and educational side?” This is a reasonable question considering that those who simply see Shakira in music videos could easily put her in a category with Britney and Christina. For some reason as a society we have determined that a woman who is sexy and flaunt her body (such is the way of the entertainment industry) than she cannot be smart or have substance. I have always liked Shakira’s music but now that I know about her background and the work she does for children and education I admire her ability to both play up and defy social stereotypes of Latinas and women in general.

    When we watched Eva Longoria’s advertisements for the Obama campaign it was brought up in discussion the question of whether celebrities have the authority to be an advocate for social change. Is it just because they are a celebrity that people will listen to them? I really liked that in Shakira’s response to Coba’s question she addresses the fact that her celebrity status gives her a mode in which to advocate for causes that she feels are important. She say’s, “…I’ve wanted to take advantage of my status as a public person to meet with the gatekeepers, with people who influence the world and in some way or another determine its course in the short and long term. I want to take advantage of this status and deal with things that are more important than myself, that are life-or-death issues.” I think it is an admirable venture and fits into the profile that is what Shakira is and it seems that she is a person who believes if you have it, use it, and considering what she has accomplished I would say her business model is working.

    • joserfigueroa says:

      I completely agree with your analysis of Shakira’s Philanthropic work. Unfortunately, she was forced to conform as she transitioned to this country. I believe the Shakira we see in music videos dancing sexually is an act. It appeals to men and women, and elevates Shakira’s name and career putting her in a position where she can help people less fortunate. I also respect the fact that Shakira does not flaunt the work that she does as, in my opinion, that makes it more authentic. She’s not asking to be recognized for her schools in Colombia. She separates her career and activism, and I believe she truly wishes to help people. I also have gained a new found respect for Shakira and have in a sense become of fan of her work.

  8. I believe that Shakira is a very unique individual with great talent. Many people judge her for the drastic transformation that occurred during her career. She went from brown hair to blonde hair., she started signing in English and adapted to the mainstream U.S pop. The music industry is very competitive and Shakira was up against many other well known artist. Therefore, Shakira did what she had to do to be successful and you can’t blame her for that.
    I was always a big fan of Shakira’s music but after this presentation there was a lot of things I learned that I never knew before. If Shakira did not convert to what would appeal to the U.S culture, there is a strong possibility that she wouldn’t have been as popular and well known as she is. Shakira took advantage of the opportunity given to her and even though Shakira had to assimilate to the U.S culture, she continues to display her Colombian roots and attract many audiences.

    • morgankamm says:

      It is possible, like you said, that Shakira may have not made it big in the US if she didn’t transform herself like she did. This business is very competitive and sometimes people have to change things about them. Shakira took the opportunity she was given, just like any other upcoming pop star would, and she shouldn’t be criticized for that. She definitely made her mark in America.

    • I agree with you when you say that she took advantage of an opportunity to given to her because at the end of the day it’s a business. But, at the same time was it worth disappointing thousands of fans for her own personal desires? It is hard to turn away an opportunity for money and fame, but doing so would also set her apart as she wouldn’t have made such a “mainstream move.”

    • joserfigueroa says:

      Reading your post made me question the difference between women like Shakira, Beyonce, or even Lady Gaga. Beyonce started out as a member of Destiny’s Child and though their style was sexy it is no where near the level of sexuality shown in Beyonce’s later career. She left little to the imagination and her performances/videos were very provocative. Lady Gaga began her career similar to Shakiras, as a rocker/indie artist. Now, Lady Gaga is very theatrical and uses her sexuality to excite her audience. Are these women considered sell outs? Does originally being from Colombia affect views on Shakira more than other artist? I think Shakira did what she had to do to compete with artist such as Beyonce, and it worked because Shakira has created a popular, well known brand and she is able to use her success to effectively help in causes that are important to her.

  9. Yamile Hernandez says:

    Shakira is a very talented artist who has been able to represent to dip herself into different styles of music, and cross over many cultures. Her music is not only authentic but its is rich with influences from all over the world. Her latest album Sale El Sol is a refreshing mix of Indie, Pop, and rock as well as Latin beats–Its a wonderful fusion of the old and the new shakira (refer to before and after her crossover in to US Mainstream music). In the beginning of her cross over she was highly criticized of becoming this “American pop barbie” (with her change of hair color) and leaving her Colombian culture behind–which was never the case. I was actually really happy when I read on page 4 of the article Shakira’s response “I’m not pretending to be American. How could I? I am Colombian. Everyone knows and nothing will change that. I would never abandon the Latin community. The Latin fans know me and tolerate me, and forgive my mistakes. That’s the type of relationship I want to build with my Anglo fans now.” Shakira is extremely talented, and I don’t blame her for trying out new genres and fields of music (I have been a fan of hers since her Pies Descalsos Allbum in 96)—it only helps her reach out to a new audience and grow as an artist. In fact its refreshing to see that she does not stick to one mold to be “identifiable” to one audience—even though MTV VH1 and Sony music records have tried to get her to do so, she always finds a way to keep a part of her authenticity as an artist (pg 171 of the article). And thats what makes her different from other artists, its her charisma and her defiance to the industry. Even though many fans believe that she has lost her “roots” in her music, I think its still there. Her next album will probably surprise us again with an even more global blend of music.

    • morgankamm says:

      I think that in the beginning of her cross over, she was more controlled and told what to do in order to become big in the US, so like you said, she had no choice. But now I think that she is able to have more control over her image and can choose to integrate her Latin roots into her music. She definitely expresses that she won’t lose touch with her Anglo fans.

      • joserfigueroa says:

        I agree with you in the fact that Shakira’s career did seem more controlled when she first came to America. Now, there seems to be a bit more freedom and I believe Shakira has what it takes to go to the next level. Now she is expecting her first child, so maybe that will change her style a bit. Maybe her music will reflect the person she truly is and the work that she does for communities in need. Shakira’s career has shown that she is a artist capable of multiple talents and variety and that is why she has become the pop superstar she is today.

  10. Kiara Morales says:

    I think that Shakira is an incredible business savvy performer and knows how to work the music industry to her advantage. She certainly got a lot of arise from the critics for the way that she portrays her body through her performances, but ultimately her actions aside from her career say so much more than just what the typical popstar persona. Her interview with Leila for Billboard was very illustrative of how she is very progressive in how she is transcending the role of performer and rather than just being a popstar.

    Her interview struck me as quite insightful as to her motives in her career, she is giving back to the community and focusing on education and humanity. She is thrusting herself into philanthropy and charity. In comparison to other celebrities who make notable donations from a far, but never show their faces, she is actually present and is providing a voice for what she cares about. Rather than just fame and notoriety being the main purpose of her image, her main goal is to ultimately use it to make a lasting image, as she stated in the interview: “It’s a vehicle that grants us all the ability to relate to one another regardless of where we are in the world, what our backgrounds are or what we do. It’s democracy at its best. One of human nature’s simplest, more primitive desires is to be connected with other people”.

  11. morgankamm says:

    Shakira was once a brown haired Columbian that sang in Spanish. She crossed over to America and drastically changed her image to appeal to the bigger population. She dyed her hair blonde and learned how to sing in English. Shortly after, she was one of America’s biggest pop stars. I think its contradicting that in the article she says, “Working since the age of thirteen, famously resists attempts to label her as the Latin Britney or the next Madonna” because her transformation both in lyrics and in looks kind of put her in that position to be labeled that way. She became more Americanized to become more famous and in doing so, she is faced with being labeled that way. She came to America during the time that Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were transitioning from innocent teens to sexy young adults and Shakira needed to keep up.
    However, in the article it states, “Her exotic rock star energy and her exotic sexiness is what makes her different than other pop stars… She reframes conventional representations of Latina otherness.” I do agree that Shakira possesses a certain Latina sexiness about her that does make her different than other pop stars but not that much different. And after Shakira became big, I think she realized that she now has more control over her identity and can shape her image more towards her Latin roots. She never lost her Latin side, and still wants to keep that connection with her Anglo fans, which I think is very important.

  12. morgan radin says:

    The connection between Shakira cross over from Mexican culture based music to American main stream pop music is obviously impressive. However, when re-reading these slides it all seems like I have hear it before, untill I remember Selena. She also began in the Spanish music realm and ventured into American latina pop music. In this presentation we discussed that Shakira crossed over when she was twenty-four years old. Selena never even made it to this age, having been murdered by the age of twenty-three.
    Once Shakira had immersed herself in America’s music culture she changed her appearance radically, obviously sexualizing, and Americanizing herself as much as possible. In order to maintain a role in this media she has had to become a slightly spanish version of all of the popular, white, heterosexual, sexualized, female singers of this day. I wonder what would have happened if Selena had extra days in her life. Would she have become a serious icon similar to Shakira? Or would she have never been able to make it through to the pop world? Would she have sexualized herself, died her hair? I believe that if we had the opportunity to find out there could be serious academic research into a theory of progression in latina artists crossovers.

    • Skylar Smith says:

      Shakira did have a major cross over but was it necessary to become successful? Shakira is a very talented artist yet a majority of people know her because of her belly dancing and exotic features. She is a avery talented artist and was before she became mainstreamed in the United States. Shakira has in fact become unique compared to the other mainstream artists of today. She had to adapt and “Americanize” in order to become successful on both sides. Those who can adapt the best, become the most successful and for Shakira, it has shown.

  13. Ernie Abreu says:

    Shakira is very talented Latina that has been called a sell out by many people in the past. She started off as a tradition Colombian singer, singing “baladas”, or soft R&B spanish music. As her fame increased, she became more mainstream. Her final transformation of becoming mainstream occurred when she dyed her hair blonde and became a pop artist. Many of my Colombian friends despised her for becoming like Britney Spears, or in their own words “una blanquita”.

    As mentioned in the article, “she resists the usual containment of “ethnic marketing,” in part by going along with normative U.S. expectations and in part by pointing out such expectations’ pathetic lack of perspective. In essence, she went along with what made her the most money, you can’t be mad at her for that. But she totally switched the genre of her music and barely considered going back to the audience that made her famous, her Colombian fans. She has made the attempt to make translate her music into Spanish. A prime example is her song “the wolf” which she also released in Spanish named “la loba”, but this music isn’t reaching out to her roots. Also, Shakira changed her traditional look of a woman singing acoustics with her guitar, to butt shaking, hip breaking and belly curving dances that are very hypersexualized in her modern videos.

    Shakira is an example of a hypersexualized Latina that follows all the stereotypes that Latinas are judged upon. Her exotic nature, her curvy body and tightly fit clothes are the reinforcing of the stereotypes that we have learned in class, the stereotypes of what a “true” Latina should look like.

    • Gillianna Mendoza says:

      I’ve always been a Shakira fan, since the days of Donde Estan Los Ladrones in the late 90s. And as a fan of hers who is from the United States and speaks Spanish, I think it’s great that she crossed over. I don’t think dying her hair should really be considered something that connects her any less to her “latinidad” because its irrelevant. Just because people dye their hair another color doesn’t change where they came from or who they are. It was a choice she made and that’s that. Not to mention, she’s died her hair plenty of colors ranging from bright fiery red in her early rocker days all the way to purple at one point. So what if she’s blonde? I don’t think her fan base in Colombia or the rest of Latin America should have liked her any less because of this. She’s reaching out and creating a larger fan base by singing in English and I think as a celebrity, you have to strive to accomplish things like that. Its the same way businesses and corporations reach out to different communities in order to gain more wealth and/or popularity. She’s still very much tied to Colombia with her foundations and her family, and a lot of artists can’t say that. And as many people have mentioned, she is a true artist. She writes almost all of her songs, and stays true to what she believes. She’s always loved singing, performing, and dancing and her fans are important to her. I think her style of music has changed a bit over the years, but it’s not as though she’s given up on all slow ballads. Not to mention, her first belly dancing appearance wasn’t when she crossed over, it was on that first album and the song was called Ojos Asi. She had the rocker red and black hair and her “original fans” loved it. She’s still hugely appreciated all over the world, and I think if she’s lost any fans for singing in English or changing her “style”, they were never really true fans to begin with.

  14. michaelpavia says:

    Shakria has always been a huge hit starting as a Latin pop rock star to becoming a global icon she always made her self-known. The Columbian singer/dancer was always a hit with the Latin American crowd and her stardom grew at a very fast pace.

    Expanding her talents Shakira moved into the English language market. She gained some criticism that her English skills were too weak for her songs. Others claimed she was selling out. I believe that Shakira can not be criticized like this. Many artists sing in different languages and it is not a big deal. Shakria did not only make the switch but even had best selling albums. I don’t think she betrayed anyone or anything like that but instead made a great career decision.

  15. joserfigueroa says:

    I have never personally been a fan of Shakira’s music, but I have never doubted her talent due to being aware that she writes her own music and is able to play the guitar. In the article, There’s my Territory: Shakira’s Crossing Over, Fuchs states “In other ways, the usual way to promote a foreign “product” in the United States is to display its conformity to traditional, unthreatening “American” values while also titillating potential consumers with sexy innuendo and exoticism” (171). As Shakira transitioned from a Latin American superstar to American pop star in 2001, it is understandable that she conformed due to the music of the time. Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera ruled the world of pop music, and Jennifer Lopez was the biggest Latina of the genre. I believe the times made it necessary for Shakira to conform and mold herself from a rocker/indie musician to a pop star. If she had continued with her previous style, I doubt she would be as mainstream as she is today.

    In the article, Shakira also claims, “I’m not pretending to be American. How could I? I am Colombian. Everyone knows and nothing will change that. I would never abandon the Latin community. The Latin fans know me and tolerate me, and forgive my mistakes. That’s the type of relationship I want to build with my Anglo fans now.” Through Shakira’s work with schools in Colombia, I do believe that she is still invested in her country and Colombian fans. In my opinion, Shakira has become stuck in her career, where the companies believe that she will only profit if she stays within the brand she has built. By completely changing her style into a sexualized “she wolf”, Shakira has been considered a sellout. As she grew as a pop star, I believe she should have incorporated her musical talents, such as playing the guitar, more in order to be taken seriously. Current pop star, Lady Gaga is known for her sexual performances similar to Shakira’s, but Gaga has also shown variety as she is talented in the piano. That brings the question of race and how much influence it has on Shakira’s artistic power.

  16. Gillianna Mendoza says:

    December 8th
    As I briefly mentioned above in one of my longer comments, as a Shakira fan, I don’t think she is one of the artists who “sells herself” more than her music. She started out with ballads, progressed to rock, started doing pop, and now, more recently, she’s also mixing it up with some “raggaeton”. I thinks he is a talented artist who writes her music and does what she wants regardless of what people think, which is something that suck with her since the beginning, and she does so much for her community of where she comes from. It’s unfortunate that so many people judge her “selling out” or that she has lost fans just because of crossing over or exploring other genres. And I especially don’t think the change in hair color is a valid argument when considering “latinidad”. If anything, I consider her one of, if not the most, “latina” artists in the US celebrity pool.
    Secondly, I would agree a lot with what has been said above about her dancing and what she shows on camera in her videos. It tends to be on the scandalous side and a bit more risqué, but this isn’t new. She has always brought a girly side to the grunge, rocker, however you define it. She had an early belly dancing song on a rock/ballad album that several of her fans liked. And now, its getting a little more outrageous, but like most artists, Shakira is just keeping up with the trend. Its unfortunate that men love seeing half naked on the screen and will only watch it if that what the programming entails. And its even more upsetting that women nationwide allow this to happen without any sort of questioning or upset. I fully believe the audiene controls what music makers do. If more people protested about stippers in music videos, they would probably (eventually) no longer exist in videos, and the same thing applies to female artists. If more people asked Shakira or whatever artist to show a different side, they would probably abide to the request, especially if it is one in the right direction for everyone overall.

    • Caroline/a Nieto says:

      I agree with you completely- she is an artist and because of this she should be allowed to grow and evolve with time. I think everyone would get bored if she kept pumping out the same music continuously. She is trying new things and keeping her audience intrigued as they witness her growth into something different. She is trying to be an artist with dimensions- nothing wrong with that!

  17. Gillianna Mendoza says:

    I’ve always been a Shakira fan, since the days of Donde Estan Los Ladrones in the late 90s. And as a fan of hers who is from the United States and speaks Spanish, I think it’s great that she crossed over. I don’t think dying her hair should really be considered something that connects her any less to her “latinidad” because its irrelevant. Just because people dye their hair another color doesn’t change where they came from or who they are. It was a choice she made and that’s that. Not to mention, she’s died her hair plenty of colors ranging from bright fiery red in her early rocker days all the way to purple at one point. So what if she’s blonde? I don’t think her fan base in Colombia or the rest of Latin America should have liked her any less because of this. She’s reaching out and creating a larger fan base by singing in English and I think as a celebrity, you have to strive to accomplish things like that. Its the same way businesses and corporations reach out to different communities in order to gain more wealth and/or popularity. She’s still very much tied to Colombia with her foundations and her family, and a lot of artists can’t say that. And as many people have mentioned, she is a true artist. She writes almost all of her songs, and stays true to what she believes. She’s always loved singing, performing, and dancing and her fans are important to her. I think her style of music has changed a bit over the years, but it’s not as though she’s given up on all slow ballads. Not to mention, her first belly dancing appearance wasn’t when she crossed over, it was on that first album and the song was called Ojos Asi. She had the rocker red and black hair and her “original fans” loved it. She’s still hugely appreciated all over the world, and I think if she’s lost any fans for singing in English or changing her “style”, they were never really true fans to begin with.

  18. Caroline/a Nieto says:

    I think when it came down to it, Shakira did exactly what she had to do to establish herself in community where she would be given more room to grow as an artist and a chance to make more money in the process. Every artist grows and changes with time, and although her change was a bit more severe than others, she still owns it. IF she wanted any chance to attain her world wide fame, she needed to fit herself more into the stereotypes- because labels are so important in hollywood and all around the world. And although she may have dyed her hair blonde and she may be singing in English, we still see her being labeled as Latina, because she know she has to play that card too.

    It really is all about the money, and honestly I can’t be one to judge her. None of us can. She was really young when she started her career- she needed to stabilize herself and she did by white washing herself a bit and assimilating into a new culture. She clearly did something right- she is know worldwide, which clearly shows her success and she makes more money than any of us can dream of. Yes, she may have sold her identity away in the process- but that is what comes hand in hand with fame.

  19. Skylar Smith says:

    I completely agree with you. WIth an opportunity to expand her talent in to another culture she had to adapt. Although it is awful to admit that to become successful one must fit themselves in to stereotypes, it is completely true. An outside appearance of someone does not define who they are. Shakira is still and always will be a Latina and will be connected with her heritage. We should not be judging her but because her appearance changed and because she is a celebrity, the public feels a need to criticize her. I could not agree more with you about “selling” herself in order to gain fame because it reality it is what people do.

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