While introducing Shakira as Woman of the Year at the Billboard Latin Women in Music event in Miami on May 7, Maluma quoted one of the most iconic lines in her viral hit “BZRP Music Session #53” with Argentine producer Bizarrap: “Women don’t cry, women cash in.” Over the past year, since officially splitting from husband Gerard Piqué after 11 years, the Colombian pop star has done both — and she’s come out on the other side stronger than ever.
“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,” Shakira shared in her acceptance speech. “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.”
While her separation has played out rather publicly, with paparazzi camping outside of her home and Piqué openly moving on with Clara Chia Marti, Shakira has stood tall in that independence. The singer recently announced that she would be relocating life with her two children to Miami, where they could be closer to their family, even if that meant putting some distance between her and the support system she found in her friends in Barcelona.
“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,” Shakira said. “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.”
She added: “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.”
During her speech, Shakira championed her mother, Nidya Ripoll. “Mami, despite the hardships you’ve faced this year, you’re still standing with limitless love and resilience,” she said. While she navigated her separation from Piqué last year, her father fell ill. She added: “You, mami, have been my woman of the year.”
She also shouted out, “all those single moms who defend and protect their children like lionesses,” a grouping she is now part of herself. Looking at the biggest picture, the singer zoomed out to encapsulate her appreciation not only for the women standing in her corner, but all of the women standing with their own friends and family — and even the ones who don’t have anyone to back them but do have the bravery to back themselves.
“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,” Shakira added. “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.”