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Shakira named Latin Grammy Person of the Year
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Her hips don’t lie and neither do her massive album sales.
International pop star Shakira was honored as the 2011 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year in Las Vegas Wednesday night during a star-studded tribute dinner that saw the Colombian singer share an intimate moment with her father and close the night in a burst of song dedicated to her hometown of Barranquilla.
A parade of Latin music’s biggest stars paid homage to the 34-year-old “Hips Don’t Lie” singer during the concert at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip. They performed hits such as “La Tortura” and “Estoy Aqui” in a two-hour salute to a career that has spanned decades and continents.
Shakira gleefully took in the performances, occasionally bouncing in her chair to show her appreciation, or standing up to dance amid a maze of banquet tables. After each song, Shakira climbed on stage and embraced the performers that included Venezuelan singer Franco De Vita, Mexican rocker Alejandra Guzman and salsa legend Gilberto Santa Rosa.
But it was a performance from her father, William Mebarak, that marked the emotional crescendo of the night. Mebarak, who sat next to Shakira for most of the show, took to the stage mid-way through the celebration and sang “Mi Nina Bonita” to his daughter. The song, which translates to “My Pretty Girl,” is a staple father-daughter tribute often heard at Hispanic weddings and birthday parties.
As Mebarak sang, pictures of the father and daughter flooded a screen hanging along the back of the stage. Shakira, visibly moved, buried her face in a tissue.
“Thank you, daddy, for that song,” she told him later in Spanish.
Puerto Rican crooner Marc Anthony presented Shakira with a crystal plaque to mark the honor. He called her a close friend and a humanitarian. Shakira’s Pies Descalzos Foundation has raised millions of dollars to fight poverty and educate the poor.
“We are in the presence of one of the most special human beings, one of the most talented human beings you will ever meet,” Anthony said.
Shakira, who has sold more than 60 million albums in Spanish and English, is the youngest person to receive the Latin Recording Academy’s most prestigious award. Previous honorees include Carlos Santana, Gloria Estefan and Ricky Martin.
“I’ll carry this night with me always,” she said in Spanish after receiving the award. “It’s an honor that I am not sure I deserve, but you’ve made me very happy.”
She ended the night with a performance of “En Barranquilla me Quedo,” an opus celebrating her hometown that was originally performed by the late Colombian salsa star Joe Arroyo. During the performance, Shakira lifted up the skirt of her sea foam-colored ball gown, revealing her twisting feet as she salsa danced across the stage. It was the only time the singer famous for her rotating hips busted a move on stage.
The celebration came amid a red-letter week for Shakira, who was honored with her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles Tuesday. She is also up for three awards, including album of the year, at the 12th Annual Latin Grammy Awards Thursday night in Las Vegas.
Shakira, who recently ended an international tour for her “Sale el Sol” album, said it has been a “year of passion.”
“I’ve been able to harvest the efforts of the past,” she told The Associated Press.
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