Shakira, the Queen of Latin music, has been a huge influence in the world of pop music and is noted for her versatility. At one point or another, we’ve all been hooked by one or another of her songs. From Waka Waka to Whenever, Wherever, she has moved a huge audience in both Hispanic and English-speaking countries.
Shakira has been around for a long time, influencing many current pop stars such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Katy Perry, and many many more to name. It is easy to see why she has become such a sensation.
Shakira has frequently stated she is inspired by oriental and Indian music, which inspired many of her earlier works. She has also been influenced by her Arab heritage and cites her parents as having major contributions to her music. She was a fan of rock music in her younger days, citing Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Madonna, U2, and The Police as her inspirations.
The superstar, however, might be in deep waters concerning legal issues. Shakira has recently become entangled in a case that might land her in jail. If you want to know why is Shakira going to prison, read on.
Who is Shakira?
Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, born 2nd February 1977 in Barranquilla, Colombia, is a Colombian singer and songwriter. Her parents are William Mebarak Chadid, an author, and Nidia Ripoll Torrado. She is a Colombian of Lebanese descent with her father William being born in New York City to a family from Lebanon.
When her father was five, his family moved to Colombia. Her mother is Columbian and she has also claimed to have distant Italian roots. Shakira stated that she was raised in a Catholic household and attended Catholic schools. She spent much of her childhood and youth in Barranquilla, the capital city of Atlántico Department, located on the northern Caribbean coast of Colombia.
Shakira had a passion for performing, but her beginnings were anything but successful. She was considered a “lost cause” by the first music director who heard her music.
She was eventually signed for three record albums, but her first two albums would go on to be unsuccessful. She released her first album at age 13, under the name Magia. It was followed by Peligro which fared better than her first album but was a commercial failure regardless.
Breakthrough in Latin and English Communities
Shakira recorded the song "¿Dónde Estás Corazón?" for the compilation album Nuestro Rock in 1994 (it was later released on her album Pies Descalzos). The song was released exclusively in Colombia and went on to earn her a breakthrough in the Latin community, becoming an instant favorite on the radio.
It wasn’t until the early 2000s that Shakira ventured into English music. Shakira's fifth studio album and first English language album, titled Laundry Service in English world and Servicio De Lavanderia in Latin America and Spain, was released on 13th November 2001.
The album was an instant success and debuted at number three on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, and managed to sell over 200,000 records in its first week. The album would go on to be certified triple platinum by the RIAA in June 2004 as well. This marked the beginning of Shakira's musical presence in the mainstream North American market.
Over the past 2 decades, Shakira has proved herself as one of the best musical artists of her time. With 11 studio albums, two compilation albums, five live albums, 68 singles (which include 13 as a featured artist and 5 promotional singles), and 62 music videos, she has solidified her place in the upper echelon of pop music.
Hailed as one of the most powerful Latinas, Shakira has given to society as much as it has given her. Having a strong sense of philanthropy since her childhood, Shakira founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation in 1997, a Colombian charity with special schools for poor children all around Colombia.
Shakira is a Goodwill Ambassador and one of the global representatives of UNICEF. The World Literacy Foundation (WLF) announced Shakira as the recipient of the 2020 Global Literacy Award for her contributions to the improvement of literacy for disadvantaged children all around the world.
In November 2017, Shakira’s name appeared in the Paradise Papers when it came to light that she was the sole shareholder of a Malta-based company. This company was being used to transfer $30 million in music rights. Following the revelation, her attorneys insisted that Shakira’s use of the company was entirely legal.
In 2018, owing to some part of the information that was revealed in the Paradise Papers, Spanish authorities began an investigation into Shakira's finances.
Prosecutors argued that Shakira had failed to pay taxes in Spain between 2012 and 2014, during which time she had been living in Spain with Gerard Piqué, her then-partner, and their family.
Shakira argued that while she had stayed in Spain, she maintained her primary residence in the Bahamas during that period and otherwise was touring internationally.
In July 2021, a Spanish judge ruled that there was enough evidence of criminality against Shakira that it could bring her to trial on charges of tax fraud.
In 2021, it was revealed through the Pandora Papers that Shakira submitted applications for three offshore companies in 2019.
Her representatives told LaSexta that the filing of this paperwork was not to establish new companies but that it was done as part of the process of dissolving existing companies.
They further claimed that these companies had no income or activities and that Spanish authorities had been made aware of their existence.
Why is Shakira going to Prison?
In July 2022, after failing to reach a deal with the Spanish Prosecution Ministry, the singer decided that she would go to trial to prove her innocence. The prosecutor asked the judge that an eight-year prison sentence be issued over six alleged tax fraud crimes.
On 27th September 2022, a Spanish judge from Esplugues de Llobregat, a municipality of Barcelona, approved the tax fraud trial after prosecutors accused Shakira of failing to pay 14.5 million euros ($13.9 million) in taxes.
Shakira continues to claim that she has already paid all she owed in addition to 3 million euros ($2.8 million) as interest. The case is still ongoing, and a trial date is inevitable. The date for the trial will be set once the presiding Barcelona judge, Ana Duro, receives the necessary qualifying papers from both parties. The final verdict of this case could land Shakira in prison for a long time.