Shakira Gave Up Her Home to Look After Her 91-Year-Old Dad
Shakira and her father, William Mebarak, have a special connection as he was the inspiration for the first steps of her artistic career. However, success is not the most important thing they share — the bond that unites them seems to grow stronger and stronger.
Her father has always been a role model for her.
Since she was a child, Shakira showed an innate interest in poetry and music. This passion was influenced by her father, who would sit and create stories on a typewriter while his daughter was fascinated by his creativity. At the age of eight, she composed the song “Tus gafas oscuras” [Your dark glasses] for him, as he, after losing one of his sons in an accident, wore glasses for a year to hide the pain of his loss.
William also sparked her interest in her family’s cultural roots. At the age of four, he took her to a local Middle Eastern restaurant, where she had her first encounter with the doumbek, a traditional drum used in Middle Eastern music and often accompanying belly dancing. The experience was transformative for Shakira. Moved by the rhythm and melody, she decided that the stage would be part of her life.
Humanitarian values are another inheritance from her father.
Her father also took it upon himself to awaken Shakira’s generosity by taking her as a child to a home so that she could see the orphans who lived there. This experience left a deep impression on her, and she promised herself that when she became a famous artist, she would help these children in need, just as she does today.
She has expressed how seeing her father in his 90s, she contemplates that beyond the success of her songs, her own humanity is the legacy that matters to her. Following her father’s footsteps, she wonders, “Have I listened to others enough when grief afflicted them? Have I celebrated their joys? Have I understood and forgiven their limitations?”
Success and mutual admiration have been key to their relationship.
In 2007, Shakira had a remarkable opportunity to collaborate with Gabriel García Márquez on the film Love in the Time of Cholera, based on the author’s acclaimed novel of the same name. The singer mentioned that thanks to that project, she wrote two of her best songs of that time: “Hay amores” and “Despedida.”
This significant event in the Colombian singer’s career was shared with her father, as they later did a version of the song “Hay amores,” which strengthened their family bond. This is further proof of the importance that her father has had in her artistic career.
At 91 years of age, he is surrounded by love.
In difficult times, family ties remain strong, and even Gerard Piqué, with whom the singer had a great love story, visited William when he was hospitalized in Spain. On his state of health, after facing several problems in the last year, including an accidental fall and two operations, his wife has told the media that he is stable.
Amid these difficult moments, Shakira has also shown on her social media part of the therapeutic process that her father has been going through, and in which she has been providing all her support through her care and love.
The artist considers her father a “hero” and has expressed her admiration for his resilience, as he has been recovering from a delicate health condition. Recently, in the storm of the separation from Piqué, she left Spain to move to Miami to take care of her father, who now requires a new operation.