Shakira has called “Hips Don’t Lie,” her hit collaboration with Wyclef Jean, a “happy accident,” but the same cannot be said about the song’s video.
Although it’s essentially a performance clip, the video was meticulously thought-out by director Sophie Muller, Wyclef and especially Shakira.
“Shakira was very involved,” said Piero Giramonti, the Epic Records video commissioner who oversaw the project. “She developed the concept based on the carnival of her town of Barranquilla [Colombia], and then Wyclef brought in the Haitian/Caribbean element from carnivals in his native land.”
Shakira recorded the song — essentially a remake of Wyclef’s “Dance Like This” from 2004’s “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights” soundtrack — after bumping into the Fugees rapper on vacation. The Colombian songstress insisted the video be exceptionally authentic to Carnaval de Barranquilla, one of the world’s largest carnivals (watch Shakira explain how her homeland and multi-cultural roots influence how she makes music).
All the extras in the video, including the children, are Colombian, and many brought their own wardrobes from the Barranquilla carnival. Muller, a veteran British director whose résumé includes Beyoncé’s “Deja Vu” and the Killers’ “Mr. Brightside,” researched the carnival through books and videos. And wardrobe stylist Marjan Malakpour, who also styles Fiona Apple and the White Stripes, borrowed actual Carnaval de Barranquilla outfits.
When it came time to shoot the video at Hollywood’s Sunset Gower Studios on February 18 and 19, the three principals were determined yet “very natural and relaxed,” Giramonti remembered.
Shakira designed all the choreography herself and was specific about how it was filmed.
“The scene of Shakira in the orange outfit dancing ’across the street’ from Wyclef, we did many, many takes to get it right,” Giramonti said. (As a side note, Shakira liked that orange skirt so much she bought it for herself in magenta and green.)
With Muller at the helm, Shakira was also open to new ideas that came up on set. The gold Mylar body stickers Shakira wore, for instance, were added at the last minute, and the dancing was ad-libbed.
Wyclef, too, was willing to go off the cuff. “The back-flip was very spontaneous,” Giramonti said. “But we instantly knew it had to be in the video when he did it.”
There was one downfall to the spur-of-the-moment scenes, however. “There was a Capoeira [a Brazilian martial art] choreographed dance setup between Shakira and Wyclef planned,” Giramonti said. “But we didn’t have enough time to shoot it.”
Still, the video met Shakira’s high standards and went on to earn seven MTV Video Music Awards nominations, including Video of the Year (see “Shakira, Chili Peppers, Madonna, Panic! Lead List Of Nominees For MTV Video Music Awards” ).