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Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (born February 2, 1977), known simply as Shakira (IPA pronunciation: [ʃɑ.ˈki.ra]), is a Colombian singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, record producer, dancer and occasional actress who has been a major figure in the pop music scene of Latin America since the mid-1990s. In 2001, she broke through into the English-speaking market with the release of her first album, Laundry Service, which sold over fifteen million copies worldwide.A two-time Grammy Award-winning and eight-time Latin Grammy Award-winning artist, Shakira is the highest-selling Colombian artist of all time, having sold around fifty million albums worldwide or more. She is also the only artist from South America to reach the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, the Australian ARIA chart, the United World Chart and the UK Singles Chart. Shakira is also known for her intelligence, reportedly having an IQ of 140.
In 1995, Shakira founded the Fundación Pies Descalzos (Bare Feet Foundation). It is a Colombian charity with special schools for poor children in Quibdó (a city on the Pacific coast of Colombia) and Barranquilla. It is funded by Shakira and many other international groups and individuals.
In September 2002, Shakira won the now-defunct International Viewer's Choice Award at the MTV Video Music Awards with "Suerte". In October of that year, she won 5 MTV Video Music Awards Latin America for Best Female Artist, Best Pop Artist, Best Artist—North (Region), Video of the Year (for Suerte), and Artist of the Year. At Aerosmith's MTV Icon in 2002, Shakira performed "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)". Also in 2002, Shakira joined the likes of Celine Dion, Anastacia, Cher and the Dixie Chicks for VH1 Divas Live Las Vegas.
On July 2, 2005, Shakira performed her hits "Whenever, Wherever" and "La Tortura" on the Live 8 benefit concertat the Palace of Versailles, near Paris.
Shakira is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the UNICEF and is one of their global representatives. "Shakira, like all our Goodwill Ambassadors, was chosen based on her compassion, her involvement in global issues, her deep commitment to helping children, and her appeal to young people around the world. We're very pleased to have Shakira join the UNICEF family. I know she'll help bring UNICEF's mission to the audience who will have the most impact on our future – young people themselves", said UNICEF's Executive Director Carol Bellamy.
On April 3, 2006, Shakira was honored at an United Nations ceremony for creating the Fundación Pies Descalzos. At the event she said: "Let's not forget that at the end of this day when we all go home, 960 children will have died in Latin America."
Shakira was recently ranked at number 48 on the list of Top 50 Most Charitable Celebrities by OK! magazine. It was said on the magazine that she donates approximately US$55,000 to charity.
Shakira opened the German leg of Live Earth on July 7, 2007 in Hamburg. Her set included "Don't Bother", "Inevitable", "Día Especial" (with Gustavo Cerati) and "Hips Don't Lie".
According to the United World Chart, Shakira is as of 2007 the fourth most successful artist so far from the 2000s.
According to an article published on December 10, 2006 on The Boston Globe, Shakira is to provide three songs for the soundtrack of the film adaptation of the Gabriel García Márquez novel Love in the Time of Cholera, which is scheduled for release in November 2007.