Shakira describes ‘prejudice’ she faced in earlier career

The singer said she faced discrimination because of her Colombian background.
Shakira describes ‘prejudice’ she faced in earlier career

Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Shakira has described the discrimination she faced in the music industry, saying she faced “double entendre comments” about her Colombian heritage, including remarks about “drug trafficking”.

The pop superstar, 44, was already a household name in Latin America before she launched an English language career in 2001 with her album Laundry Service, which included hits Whenever, Wherever and Underneath Your Clothes.

She told Glamour UK: “I think I suffered more from other kinds of prejudice, like being Colombian.

(Lucie Hugary/Glamour/PA)

“I remember when I had my first big break in music outside Colombia, there were many double entendre comments about what it meant to be Colombian, and usually associated with drug trafficking, all of that.

“It’s like, we’re always the joke, it was uncomfortable.”

The musician, whose hits also include Hips Don’t Lie, Waka Waka and Beautiful Liar with Beyonce, said she has always battled self doubt.

She said: “Sometimes I project this image of confidence, but in reality, I’m very, very insecure.

“I feel like I have this duality. It’s weird, because sometimes I feel really empowered that I can do it all, but it never happens without me going through a process of self doubt.”

Shakira, who performed the NFL SuperBowl halftime show with Jennifer Lopez last year, has been working with the Duke of Cambridge on the Earthshot Prize eco-awards.

She said: “Seeing Prince William’s passion and how genuinely determined he is to provoke change is very, very inspiring.

“It’s just incredible to see how committed he is, and all the people at Earthshot are, to make change happen in the world in such a short amount of time. And it’s not impossible.

“It requires many of us, plenty of commitment and determination, and we need to raise awareness towards that.”

The musician, who has two children with Spanish footballer Gerard Pique, said they are the reason she signed up to work on the prize.

She said: “Seeing them so worried, so concerned about the planet and how they can make this a better place has been so inspiring to me as a mother.

“As a parent, I want to make sure that they will live in a world that will be better than the one I grew up in.”

The full interview is in the November digital issue of Glamour UK now.

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