Shakira has recalled how she was subjected to "uncomfortable" stereotypes in the early days of her career.
The Hips Don't Lie hitmaker has sold over 75 million records and is one of the world's best-selling music artists.
However, in an interview for the November 2021 issue of Glamour magazine, Shakira reflected on how critics made negative comments about her Colombian and Lebanese heritage when she was first starting out in the industry.
"I suffered more from other kinds of prejudice, like being Colombian. I remember when I had my first big break in music outside Colombia, there were many double entendre comments about what it meant to be Colombian, and usually associated with drug trafficking, all of that. It's like, we're always the joke, it was uncomfortable," she sighed to the publication. "I knew that there was a lot to be done and knew that I had to prove a lot of people wrong. I knew that I had to show the world a more truthful side of my country. I needed to really share for the rest of the world what us Latinos and Colombians were about. And I've always had some sort of social weight on me. I represent so many minorities. I'm half Lebanese. I'm also Colombian."
Shakira went on to credit her multicultural background with being key to her success.
"I grew up making music that had a little bit of many different influences. It's been fun to experiment and play with so many different genres of music and influences, but at the same time, I feel that deep inside it's a huge responsibility as well," the 44-year-old mused.