In her first public appearance since moving to Miami last month, Shakira gave an emotional speech to accept Billboard’s first Woman of the Year award at the inaugural Latin Women in Music gala, thanking her mother, her friends and women overall.
Speaking to a crowd that regularly roared in approval at Miami’s Watsco Center, Shakira — dressed in a fitted short, black dress — was as sincere in her words as she’s been in her recent songs.
“It’s true that when I felt most lost, music put me in the road back to myself,” she said, speaking to over 2,000 in attendance at the May 6 gala (which aired tonight on Telemundo and Peacock), in a clear allusion to her recent public breakup with soccer star Gerard Piqué. “But the most important lessons I learned from other women, and for them I wrote what I wrote and I sang what I sang. Because only a woman can love until she’s ripped apart; can speak with the most brutal honesty; can sing with anger; dance in ecstasy and be brought to tears with emotion. Only a woman can do that.”
But it was all about celebrating the global superstar at Billboard’s Women in Music. The Colombian star has achieved new heights with the biggest Spanish-language debut of 2022 (“Monotonía” featuring Ozuna) and broke 14 Guinness World Records with her “Shakira: BZRP Music Sessions #53,” which debuted at No. 9 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, making her the first woman to reach the top 10 on the chart with a song in Spanish.
Fellow Colombian star Maluma pointed those records out when he came out to present Shakira, whom he referred to as a friend.
“I’ve seen firsthand that Shakira writes her songs from the heart and her experiences, and this year she was able to turn adversity into art, emotions and pain into music, and made history with her lyrics, creating a hit that today is a universal feminine anthem: Women don’t cry, women cash in!” he said to thunderous applause.
The standing ovation, however, was for the Woman of the Year. Read Shakira’s full acceptance speech below.
This has been a year of seismic change in my life where I’ve felt more than ever and very personally what it is to be a women. And what it means.
It’s been a year where I’ve realized we women are stronger than we think, braver than we believed, more independent than we were taught to be.
Because what woman hasn’t at some time in her life forgotten herself because she’s seeking the attention and love of someone else?
It happened to me, more than once.
But there comes a time in the life of every woman where she no longer depends on someone else to love and accept herself just as she is.
A time when the search for someone else is replaced by the search for oneself. A time when the desire to be perfect is replaced by the desire to be authentic, and where finding someone who is faithful is less important than being faithful to ourselves.
It’s true that when I felt most lost, music put me in the road back to myself. But the most important lessons I learned from other women, and for them I wrote what I wrote and I sang what I sang. Because only a woman can love until she’s ripped apart; can speak with the most brutal honesty; can sing with anger; dance in ecstasy and be brought to tears with emotion. Only a woman can do that.
And there is one special woman who has inspired me more than anyone else: my mother, Nidya Ripoll. Mami, despite the hardships you’ve faced this year, you’re still standing with limitless love and resilience. You, mami, have been my woman of the year. So, this recognition is for you, and also for my friends who have supported me and who hold me up when my legs give out. And for all those single moms who defend and protect their children like lionesses. Claudia, I love you! You’re one of those.
I receive this honor with lots of love, but for me, more than celebrating the women of the year, we should celebrate the year of the woman. A year where us women have touched subjects that couldn’t be touched, and said things that couldn’t be said. And though some may have complained, there’s no going back. Together, we’ve taken a step forward, and with each step we’re more free and more fulfilled.
Thank you for this recognition, and I share it with those incredible women I call ‘sisters’ who have taught me so much because they understand their own vulnerability, but also their own strength.
Watch Maluma’s presentation of Shakira here: