Obama appoints diva Shakira to advisory panel

Neil Munro White House Correspondent

Colombian diva Shakira has been appointed by President Barack Obama to his Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, along with a a series of Democrat-affiliated advocates and boosters.

Shakira may have gotten her slot on the educational commission in part because Obama is ramping up his outreach to Hispanics by promoting Hispanic celebrities. The Hispanic vote is important to the campaign’s success, especially in critical swing-states such as Florida.

In May, for example, Obama invited celebrities Eva Longoria and Emilio Estefan to a Cinco De Mayo event at the White House. Both are members of the National Museum of the American Latino Commission.

A week earlier, Obama met with Longoria and other celebrities to talk about immigration. “We like to blame Obama for the inaction, but he can’t just disobey the law that’s written,” actress Eva Longoria obligingly told reporters as she left the White House.

Shakira’s appointment follows Obama’s recent tongue-in-cheek description of another diva, Lady Gaga, as a leader of the gay and lesbian communities, telling an October 1 Human Rights Campaign event, “I also took a trip out to California last week, where I held some productive bilateral talks with your leader, Lady Gaga.”

Gaga “was wearing 16-inch heels.  She was eight feet tall. It was a little intimidating,” Obama said.

Shakira has spent significantly to support education for poor children in Col0mbia. She lived in Colombia with her Arab-American dad and his Spanish-Italian wife until she made her career as a singer in the early 1990s.

Her hometown of Barranquilla has erected a 50-foot metal sculpture of her silhouette.

Today’s announcement also listed three other appointees to the educational committee. They were Nancy Navarro, a Democratic member of Montgomery County Council in Maryland; Adrián Pedroza, who runs a pro-immigration advocacy group in New Mexico; and Kent Scribner, a high-school superintendent in Phoenix, Arizona.

The education panel already includes Cesar Conde, the president of Univision TV network.

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