Shakira Delivers Inspiring Agent of Change Acceptance Speech at Premios Juventud 2023
The Colombian powerhouse artist founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation in 1997 to promote education and provide support for vulnerable children in Colombia and various disadvantage communities of the region. The foundation has improved access to quality education, nutrition, and healthcare for underprivileged communities, with a particular emphasis on early childhood development. To date, the foundation has aided 150,000 underprivileged students.
Wearing a beautiful red dress, sleeveless from one side, her blondish long hair flowing as she walked, the Colombian superstar singer delivered an impassioned speech.
Read her full acceptance speech below:
Thank you for this honor, Kanny. Thank you for your kind words. This recognition is impossible to receive without sharing it with the incredible team of our Pies Descalzos Foundation and Patricia Sierra, its director, who work tirelessly every day to transform our most vulnerable communities in Colombia. So this is also for you.
We live in an ambiguous world, surrounded by good music, beauty, TikTok dances, filtered selfies. But there are realities that cannot be filtered or made up. There are places where people who are born poor die poor because they do not have the opportunity to receive a quality education.
Places where, although it is still hard to believe, people are discriminated against because of their sexual preferences, the color of their skin or their social class. It is an imperfect world, but fortunately it is constantly changing. And that is a truth that cannot be wasted. When my 10-year-old son tells me with sadness that a friend of his would like to change his skin color because he doesn’t feel part of it or that someone else is being pushed aside because of his preferences. That only remains for me as a mother to show him that he doesn’t have to be quiet, that he can raise his hand, that he can use his voice and that he can complain about that and everything else he disagrees with.
That’s the way it is, Milán. And I am relieved to see, I am very, very relieved to see that this youth knows how to do it more and more. In the social networks, you amplify the news that concerns us and bring to light stories that if it were not for them, if it were not for you, these stories would not be known. You question things, you point out injustice, you seek the truth. And today Milán and Sasha are here with me, which is a great joy for me. I want my children to understand that to be an agent of change you don’t have to be a female pop star.
You don’t have to have a foundation, you don’t have to be a politician or even occupy a place of power, you don’t have to be famous or rich. To be an agent of change you just have to differentiate what is right from what is wrong. You just have to believe that it is possible to change things and not let anyone tell you otherwise.
That is power and you, the youth, have that power. And if you are angry and if you are uncomfortable with exclusion, and if you do not allow yourselves to be anesthetized by the pain of others and if you raise your voice and do not lower your arms, then I can rest assured that my children and that you are and will be the hope of many and are also and will be the true agents of change. Thank you very much.
Premios Juventud celebrates its 20th anniversary from the Coliseo José Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with the theme of “Exprésate a tu Manera” (Express Yourself Authentically). The ceremony is televised by Univision.