The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce will be honouring the Colombian pop star Shakira with her very own star on the Hollywood walk of fame.
She will be placed in the category of Recording; with her being the 2,354th star on the Walk of Fame, located at the world famous corner of Hollywood and Vine Boulevard.
Within a contemporary transnational context, the internationally known singer/songwriter Shakira emerges as a prime example of a public persona who at times occupies the interstices between the Latin American and the US Latino. As one of the most visible performers of the most recent so-called Latin music ‘boom’, Shakira’s music and public persona shape both western and non western notions of what it means to be not only Latina, but as beautiful.
Though this latest award may be considered a more celebrity orientated affair; and many will disregard it quicker than Shakira can shake her hips (weak?) it is interesting to view this situation in a more cultural context; away from the glitter and fakery.
As a representation of the female gender, Shakira may regard herself an advocate for feminism, but feminist may argue her raunchy self image is all the more for males and her audience to support her because of her image, as opposed to her views.
Her mixed ethnicity also brings into light to the masses another culture and where one has been successful; though not necessarily western. Shakira has used her ethnicity for the most part of her career, but also fallen short of moulding a different identity to gain acclaim from a western audience. The impoverished background that she grew up in has however caused her to not just use her fame for her own financial advancement, but also to benefit others with the production of her own charity.
Shakira has ushered her audience into the brave new world of her music; a sound often described as a refreshing blast of off-centre rock that is fused together with her native Arabic and Latin beats. She is an example of the postmodern, post colonial globalised self,
“I am a fusion. That’s my persona. I’m a fusion between black and white, between pop and rock, between cultures – between my Lebanese father and my mother’s Spanish blood, the Colombian folklore and Arab dance I love and American music”
(fazeteen.com, ‘Shakira a cultural fashion’, 2009)
The celebrity world may be deemed by post-colonialists to be dominated substantially by the white celebrity. Thus, making people believe that stardom and fame is more readily available for those of white ethnicity.
It is distressing to think that the colonialist mentality is still alive in the hearts of the mass media. Shakira may have landed herself a spot on the Hollywood walk of fame; but was it worth reincarnating herself as a blonde bombshell oozing with western spirit.
It is that elusive global popularity that Shakira continues to seek, producing bi-lingual albums and collaborating with key artists in the US market.
She has a curiosity about the world and other cultures that you don’t see every day in your average pop singer. I mean, not too many celebrities like to discuss Carl Jung during interviews or can claim a Nobel Prize winner like Colombian Gabriel Garcia Marquez as a close friend.
You can keep your star. You deserve it.