About

This is a music video for 2006’s “Hips Don’t Lie,” by Colombian singer Shakira and Haitian rapper Wyclef Jean. It was a salsa and reggaeton-influenced international hit pop song. The theme of the video is a carnival or festival atmosphere, and features Shakira’s signature sensual belly-dancing in various outfits and configurations throughout the video. The song is essentially about a woman telling a man to “read the signs of (her) body” because her “hips don’t lie” in suggesting what she wants from him. Wyclef’s lyrics include stating that the way she moves her body and hips are so suggestive that they make him want to speak Spanish, ostensibly because Shakira is from Columbia and speaks Spanish (in addition to Portuguese and English). Part of the song also includes Wyclef singing simple Spanish phrases, like “como se llama” (what’s your name?), “bonita” (pretty/beautiful), “mi casa” (my house), “su casa” (your house).

Discussion

How are race and nationality portrayed in the lyrics of this song and in the music video? What words and images are used to show racial difference?

How is female sexuality represented in the song and video? Male sexuality? How are these representations related to Latina and Black representations? Given that this was an international hit, how might these portrayals differ by cultural context?

Why were both Spanish and English lyrics used in the song? How is the speaking of multiple languages portrayed?