Friday, 19 April 2019

Shakira, Gordon : The odd couple

DAVOS: Shakira appears to have struck up a slightly unlikely friendship with former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The Colombian pop star was photographed with the ex-PM in Switzerland, briefly causing much confusion on social media. But Shakira explained they had been speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos about global education – something she’s a known campaigner for. “With Gordon Brown discussing the next steps to secure new major financing for education,” she tweeted. The World Economic Forum is an annual festival where politicians, business moguls and campaigners meet to discuss the state of the world. In this case, Shakira – who is best-known for her hip-shaking pop hits – was calling on business leaders to help support new parents who want to spend more time at home with their children. Shakira is a global ambassador for Unicef, while Mr Brown recently served as the United Nations Special Envoy on Global Education. It’s actually not the first time the pair have met.

Shakira visited Mr Brown in Downing Street in 2006, and two years ago she presented him with a petition signed by more than 10 million people calling for all children around the world to have access to education. The singer has previously said of Mr Brown: “I know for a fact that he is one of those leaders who is committed to promoting universal education. That conversation was quite serious.” It’s not the first unusual politician-celebrity friendship. Angelina Jolie met former Conservative party leader William Hague several times while he was UK foreign secretary. The pair appeared at a London summit dedicated to ending war rape and visited Bosnia and Herzegovina together to meet rape victims. A whole host of celebrities were keen to be associated with Barack Obama when he first ran for US president in 2008, with Will.i.am campaigning on his behalf and Beyonce singing it his inauguration. Some musicians would prefer their encounters with politicians to be forgotten, however. While Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher was happy to meet with the then prime minister Tony Blair in 1997 during the New Labour movement, he later said he regretted the famous photographs of them together. He told the New Statesman in 2013 that while he was proud to have endorsed Labour, he “did regret that picture at No 10 that night… I can still smell the cheese!”

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