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Shakira to be honored at this year's Latin Billboard Music Awards

March 30, 2006 -- Shakira, who is now being called, "The Queen of Latin American Pop Music", will be honored with the Spirit of Hope Award at this year's Billboard Latin Music Awards in Florida.

The singer is being recognized for her efforts to improve living conditions in her native Colombia.

Shakira is also up for eight awards at the event, which takes place on April 27.

It won't be her only honor of the year - she is also being recognized in her hometown of Barranquilla, Colombia with a giant steel statue.

Shakira is to be immortalized with a 5-meter (16-foot) iron statue in her home city of Barranquilla which is 700 kilometers (435 miles) north of Colombia's capital.

The statue was designed by German sculptor Dieter Patt, who decided to make the likeness of Shakira after meeting the singer during her world tour.

The sculpture, which took more than a year to complete, weighs about 5 tons - roughly 95 times as much as the diminutive singer.

"When the people look at this sculpture I want them to not to think of me but think of every young girl from Barranquilla who is working toward her dreams," said Shakira when she was shown the statue last year.


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