Wednesday, February 14, 2007

shakira and wycleff at the grammys

A friend recently put a YouTube clip of Shakira and Wycleff at the Grammys on her blog, which I thought was rather Grenada-esque and so I decided to "steal" it. (Actually I wonder how much consideration to give the fact that she was introduced as a "Latina superstar" as opposed to an "Arab superstar"?)

In any case, what follows is my own weak attempt to justify the sudden increase in the booty-shakin' quotient on this side of the blogosphere...

For a while now, I've been thinking about doing some kind of "deep" post about the cultural significance of Shakira, but honestly how deep I can make her. But in "Let Us Be Moors": Islam, Race And "Connected Histories" (the same paper which I use for the opening summary of Planet Grenada, Hisham Aidi makes a noble effort. He writes:

In the past two years, Islam and the Arab-Muslim world seem to have entered even more poignantly into the Latin American imagination, gaining a presence in political discourse and strongly influencing Hispanic popular culture. This Arab cultural invasion of Latin America, which has reverberated in mainstream American culture, is often attributed to the Brazilian telenovela El Clon and Lebanese-Colombian pop icon Shakira.


Through the Latino back channel, the impact of Shakira in bringing Arab culture to the MTV audience has also been considerable. The Lebanese-Colombian singer was bombarded with questions by the media about her views "as an Arab" on the September 11 attacks, and advised to drop the belly dancing and the Arabic riffs from her music because it could hurt her album sales, but she refused. "I would have to rip out my heart or my insides in order to be able to please them," said the songstress, and expressed horror at hate crimes against "everything that's Arab, or seems Arab." [18] During the run-up to the Iraq war, Shakira's performances took on an explicitly political tone, with her dancers wearing masks of Tony Blair, George W. Bush and Fidel Castro. Backdrop screens flashed images of Bush and Saddam Hussein as two puppets playing a sinister game of chess, with the Grim Reaper as the puppeteer. She also undertook a highly publicized tour of the Middle East (though her concerts in Casablanca, Tunis and Beirut were postponed), during which she visited her father's ancestral village in the Bekaa Valley.

Interesting... but honestly if I find more serious discussion of Shakira's significance online, I'll probably add some links. I promise this won't just turn into fan site.


rabfish said...

this last bit--cool--her works sounds intetesting.

sondjata said...

Didn't realize she was part arab. Though I don't follow her anyway. makes for an interesting post.