Opinion: Why Shakira’s record-breaking song is a stigma-busting hit

Editor’s note: Ximena N. Beltran Quan Kiu is a communications professional and author based in Chicago. The opinions expressed here are her own. read more opinion on CNN


Last week, Shakira did with her former soccer star Gerard Pacquiao, what anyone who has been mistreated and underappreciated by their partner wants to do. She destroyed her ego and in the process she reminded herself and the world what she was capable of.

Ximena N. Beltran Quan Kiu

Within 24 hours, “BZRP Music Session #53,” her latest single with Argentinian producer and DJ Bizarap, hit a record 63 million views on YouTube and 14.4 million streams on Spotify. The soulful pop ballad is a solid addition to the canon of breakup songs, but it’s more than just a diss track about her ex-boyfriend and the father of her two children. By airing her grievances in such a public forum, Shakira made an explosive and important cultural statement by denying any shame at the end of their relationship.

But therein lies the rub. Not everyone agrees with her attitude. Headlines surrounding her smash single took on a sexually charged tone, calling her behavior “petty” and branding the song a “revenge hit”. Users on social media are questioning whether Shakira broke an unwritten rule between women by ditching her ex’s new flame. Others are happy to see the drama unfold while they judge her for her dirty laundry.

Gerard Pique and Shakira on May 30, 2015 in Barcelona, ​​Spain.

We have heard of harassment of women before. Especially with Taylor Swift. In a 2014 interview, Swift responded to criticism that she was taking advantage of her exes.

“You’re going to have people saying, ‘Oh, you know, like, he’s just writing songs about his exes,'” the singer said. “And I honestly think that’s a very sexist angle to take. Nobody says that about Ed Sheeran. Nobody says that about Bruno Mars. They all talk about their exes, their current friends, their Writes songs about love life, and no one raises a red flag there.

And she is right. Just look at the evil dwarf. His Spanish-language album “Un Verano Sin Ti” broke record after record and earned him the top spot for Billboard Album of the Year. The translated title means “summer without you” – this heartbreaking theme is embedded in the title and repeated in the majority of her 23 songs. And yet online searches for the Puerto Rican singer, along with his album title, don’t immediately bring up criticisms of him cashing in on his love life — they praise his intelligence and creativity.

In a viral tweet posted the same day as the song’s release, user Melanie Morello broke down all the subtle ways that Shakira takes her deep knowledge of Pique and weapons it, leaving little doubt (if any ) refers to who. Topic highlights include: highlighting how Bezarp samples “Me Enamour” (“I’ve Been in Love”), Shakira’s 2017 song about her relationship with her boyfriend And it illustrates how Shakira refers to her poems to count in their relationship. At the 2:22 mark he sings “I’m worth twice as much as a 22-year-old,” referring not only to Pacquiao’s reported girlfriend (now 23; she’ll be 36 next month) but to former couple 10 years apart on February 2nd. He also uses Pique’s signature gesture of raising two fingers with both hands.

To appreciate the true warmth behind the song, you have to watch it alongside the video, where Shakira’s body language adds another layer of complexity. The camera focuses on her as she attacks her former flame, taking her place and throwing her body around, projecting confidence and strength. This is the departure from “Montonia” in October 2022. In the music video for Monotony, she spends most of her time in tears, looking sad and singing “It wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t yours, loneliness was a sin.”

And this is where we actually see Shakira jet-leverage, saying (with a very obvious play on words of her ex’s last name to boot) “I know it’s not my fault if you criticize , I’m just making music, sorry I’m making you laugh.” Apparently minimizing her impact by saying that she “just makes music”, the only time she adopts a significant attitude, the gender stereotypes of women are weak and soft in her favor.

She lays her problems at his feet and offers insight into what keeps her up at night – keeping her mother as a neighbor, the press not only about her separation, but Also mentions the tax evasion charge where if found guilty, he faces up to eight jail terms. – A year in prison and a fine of nearly $25 million (she has repeatedly denied the charges against her). After overcoming the obstacles she faces after his departure, things that would have broken under normal circumstances, she doubles down on her confidence and other betrayed women as “other women”. Don’t cry, women get cash.”

The song may have been composed as an act of survival – he calls it “cathartic” and sings that he needs to “disentangle” himself from his pain – but there’s no denying it’s a moneymaker. is and shows the world that he’s still got it. He pays for sure. But by being so open about what she’s going through, she comes into her own and succeeds. She rejects societal expectations and pressures to behave in a certain way as a long-term relationship ends. In the process she launched the biggest Spanish-language hit in Spotify’s history (a feat in the post-Bad Bunny “Un Verano Sin Ti” era).

As a woman whose former life partner is now her ex—a painful reminder of what happens when you accept less than you’re worth—Shakira reminds others of a universal truth. There is no playbook for the worst moments in your life. There is a very good chance that you will be criticized by someone for whatever you do as a healer, so you might as well do what seems right to you.


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