Photo courtesy of Hispanicize

Colombian singer Shakira is one of the most prominent Latino personalities worldwide. However, many ignore her struggle with depression.

The singer, songwriter, actress, dancer, and UNICEF ambassador, whose birth name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, debuted in the music industry with her album ‘Pies Descalzos’ in 1995. In 2001, she jumped to international fame with ‘Servicio de Lavandería’ (Laundry Service), selling more than 13 million copies worldwide. 

Shakira’s success led her to become the first Latina singer to have a number 1 song on Billboard’s Hot 100 with ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ in 2006. Shakira’s career continued to rise over time, and in 2017 when she was announcing her ‘El Dorado World Tour, she would have to fight one of the biggest battles of her life after a hemorrhage in her vocal cords.

The loss of her voice and depression

During rehearsals for the El Dorado World Tour, which was scheduled to begin on November 8, 2017, in Europe, Shakira strained her vocal cords more than she should have and injured them. 

The first date was delayed, and eventually, the tour in Europe had to be postponed due to the severity of the singer’s vocal cord condition. Through a statement published by Shakira herself on social media, she explained that she had suffered a hemorrhage in her right vocal cord and had to undergo surgery.

This was a tough blow for Shakira, who would say sometime later in an interview with The Guardian that she always thought she would lose anything before her voice, which made her become a hostile and bitter person. The despair and frustration of the singer were so great that she fell into a tremendous depression from which it was difficult for her to get out.

Doctors told her that she should have surgery to solve her problem, but she didn’t think it would work and decided to try other more holistic alternatives. 

Eventually, Shakira recovered her voice and went back to the stage.

However, the Colombian singer often speaks of that time as the darkest of her life.

After this challenging period, Shakira was able to finish her tour and won her third Grammy Award for the album El Dorado. In February 2020, she would make history with singer Jennifer Lopez by singing together at the halftime show of Super Bowl LIV in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Depression in the Latino community

The Latino community in the United States represents more than 18 percent of the population. According to studies, at least 16% of them have suffered from some type of mental illness such as depression. Depressive episodes are more prevalent in the Latino population between 12 and 17 years of age, decreasing in other age groups.