Shakira, originally Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, was born and raised in Barranquilla, Columbia.
As most South Americans, Shakira was brought up Catholic and attended Catholic school.
Shakira isn’t one of those types to talk about her religious views–except in jest–or credit God for her success, but she does still seem to gravitate towards Catholic causes. Her obligatory celebrity contribution to the Haiti earthquake in 2010 was to help rebuild a Catholic girls’ school in that country. She said:
I’m convinced that the key to a dignified future for Haiti is through education.
A Catholic education at that.
Catholic lyrics can sometimes be found in Shakira’s songs, like “How Do You Do,” where she quotes The Lord’s Prayer.
That could be tongue-in-cheek and it is rumored that Shakira isn’t much of a good Catholic and has a history of drug use, pre-marital sex, and sex with contraception (gasp!).
However, Shakira’s Catholic roots still haunt her. She struggled with classic Catholic guilt for shopping and had to overcome it, saying:
I do like to enjoy things any normal girl my age enjoys: I jog in the park, watch really bad movies. I used to feel guilty – I am a Catholic girl after all – but today, the way I see it, shopping keeps the world rolling. A world where people don’t consume? The economy gets worse.
Overcoming religious hang-ups and boosting the economy all at once? Now that takes talent folks.
Shakira is quite politically active. She’s such a huge celebrity in South America that she’s regularly summoned to events with South American countries’ presidents and other dignitaries who pretend to listen to her concerns about poverty while using her as political currency.
Her clout even extends to the U.S. and in 2011, she was appointed by the Obama administration to a commission to advise the president on educating Hispanic students.
She’s political currency in the U.S. as well and when Arizona was being billed as the most racist nation in the U.S. after passing draconian immigration legislation in 2008, Phoenix Democratic mayor Phil Gordon recruited Shakira to appear at a press conference to boost his image with the city’s enormous Hispanic population.
If palling around with Democrats isn’t proof enough of Shakira’s liberal leanings, she made a video to go along with her song, “The 8th Day,” that blasted the Bush administration for its war policies. She commented about the video, saying:
How does politics work? It’s shit!
Shakira seems to be a caring soul. Her philanthropic efforts are staggering and range from a foundation to help feed and educate poor children in her home country of Columbia to raising $200 million for poor children in South America to performing dozens of benefit concerts for charity. In 2003, Shakira was given the title of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for her efforts.