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 writer based in Chicago. The views expressed here are his own. Read more opinion on CNN.


Last week, Shakira did to former soccer player Gerard Piqué, which everyone was treated poorly and underestimated by his aspiring partner. He knocked his ego and in doing so reminded himself—and the world—what he could do.

Ximena N. Beltran Quan Kiu

In 24 hours, “BZRP Music Session #53,” his latest track with Argentinian producer and DJ Bizarrap, released a record-breaking 63 million views on YouTube and 14.4 million streams on Spotify. The fun pop ballad is a terrific addition to the canon of breakup songs, but it’s more than just a diss track for her ex-boyfriend and the father of her two children. By voicing her grievances in such a public forum, Shakira made an explosive and important moral statement by refusing to carry any shame associated with the end of their relationship.

But that’s where it goes wrong. Not everyone agrees with his approach. The headlines surrounding her single husband took a sexist tone calling her “young,” and calling the song a “revenge beat.” Social media users are questioning whether Shakira broke an unwritten rule between women by dating her ex’s new flame. Others are happy to see the drama continue and judge him by revealing his dirty clothes.

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

We have heard criticism of women who have their own heart. Especially with Taylor Swift. In a 2014 interview, Swift responded to criticism that she profited from her exes.

“You will have people who will say, ‘Oh, you know, like he only writes songs about his ex-girlfriends,'” said the singer. “And I think to be honest this is a sexist corner. Nobody says that about Ed Sheeran. Nobody says that about Bruno Mars. They’re all writing songs about their spouses, current girlfriends, love lives, and no one raises a red flag there. ”

And he is right. Just look at Bad Bunny. His Spanish-language album “Un Verano Sin Ti,” broke records and earned him the top spot for Billboard’s album of the year. The changed title means “Summer Without You”—its sad title is arranged in the title itself and is repeated in most of its 23 songs. And yet online searching for the Puerto Rican singer, as well as the title of his album, not only brings out criticisms on how he makes money in his love life — they applaud his creativity and his ability.

In a tweet posted the same day as the song’s release, user Melany Mora Murillo broke down all the subtle ways Shakira takes Piqué’s intimate knowledge and weaponry, leaving little doubt (if any) who she is referring to. Highlights from the thread include: showing how Bizarrap samples hits from “Me Enamoré,” (“I Fell in Love”), a 2017 song Shakira made about her relationship with Piqué and showing how Shakira changes her lyrics to talk about numbers. in their relationship. At the 2:22 mark he sings “I’m worth twice as much as the 22-year-old,” not only referring to Piqué’s young girlfriend (now 23; he’ll be 36 next month) but his former spouse. shared a birthday of February 2, 10 years apart. He also uses Piqué’s signature two-fingers-up gesture with both hands.

To fully appreciate the heat behind the song, you have to watch it paired with the video, where Shakira’s language adds another level of sophistication. The camera focuses on him as he attacks his former flame, he takes up space and throws his body around, showing confidence and strength. It’s a long way from “Monotonía,” which was released in October 2022. In the music video for Monotonía, she spends a lot of time crying, looking unhappy and singing “it wasn’t my fault, and it wasn’t yours, the monotony was the fault.”

This is where we really see Shakira raising the jets and saying (with a strong play on the words on her husband’s name to start) “I understand that it is not my fault if you are criticized, I only make music, sorry if I defame you.” Underestimating what he does by saying that he “just makes music,” it’s the only time he takes a conservative approach, taking women’s stereotypes as weak and soft to his advantage.

He puts his problems at his feet and gives an insight into what keeps him up at night – having his mother as a neighbor, the media hounding him not only for divorce but also for tax evasion where if convicted, he faces eight. -a year in prison and a fine of close to $25 million (he continued to deny the charges). After going through the obstacles she faces after her departure, things are difficult in normal situations, she doubles down on her faith in herself and brings other betrayed women into the fold by publishing “Women don’t cry anymore, women bring in money.”

The song may have been made as a survival experience – he calls it “cathartic” and sings that he needs to “calm” his pain – but there’s no denying that he’s a moneymaker and shows the world he’s still got it. He is making money for sure. But by being open about what he is going through, he has come into his own and is winning. She resists societal expectations and pressures to behave in a certain way as a long-term relationship comes to an end. In doing so he created the biggest Spanish-language hit in Spotify’s history (the biggest hit since Bad Bunny’s “Un Verano Sin Ti” period).

As a woman whose former roommate is now her ex – a painful reminder of what happens when you get paid less than you deserve – Shakira is reminding others of a universal truth. There is no playbook for the worst moments in your life. There’s a very good chance you’ll be criticized by someone for whatever you do while you’re recovering, so you might as well do whatever feels right for you.


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