Posted by Mary Cecelia Bittner on Mar 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Celebrities have a social responsibility: Shakira

Shakira the philanthropist

Shakira asserted that celebrities have a philanthropic moral duty at the 80th anniversary of the BBC World Service this Wednesday, reported local media.

“I think that artists have responsibilities, all public figures who appear before the cameras must use their position to improve the world. Everyone has a role in society and an opportunity to correct what we think is wrong,” said the Colombian pop star.

The singer, who has sold over 70 million albums worldwide, is an avid activist whose Barefoot Foundation focuses on early development and providing education to children in Colombia and developing countries.

She explained the motivation for her work saying, “I grew up in a developing country and saw a lot of social injustice and inequality, I felt like I might be able to do something. As soon as I had the opportunity and some success, I returned to my country at 18 years old and established my foundation to create opportunities for children without access to quality education.”

The topic of the round-table discussion was the future of international media. Important figures from major media outlets such as Al Jazeera, CNN International, and the BBC World Service participated in the debate.

When the former director of Arabic news service Al Jazeera commented that his organization focuses on news, not celebrities, Shakira responded by saying, “If the message [of the celebrity] is correct and serious and made with good intention, it can affect millions of lives and shape new generations.”

The head of BBC World Service backed Shakira up saying that “not everyone is interested in international affairs and celebrities can attract audiences [as in the case of the coverage of the Oscars] with different approaches depending on the audience.”

Shakira went on to say that “I use twitter and facebook, I have 50 million followers, that is why it is important for celebrities to use their voices to speak for the voiceless, we cannot neglect our role in the world, in the media and politics […] we have a responsibility to improve the world.”