March 31, 1995, the world mourned as the news of popular Tejano music superstar Selena’s death spread like wildfire. Selena was murdered by her friend and manager of her boutique, Yolanda Saldivar, after a business meeting went sour between the two. Twenty years after the death of the popular singer, her music is still heard worldwide, and has influenced several Spanish and English singers.
Pop superstar Jennifer Lopez explains to Billboard magazine why she feels that Selena’s music has made such an impact on the industry and on the world. Lopez tells the magazine that she feels like Selena “moved the world in a different way.” Jennifer got an up close look at the life Selena when she was selected to portray the young singer in a movie about her start in the music business and rise to fame, titled Selena.
Selena was born Selena Quintanilla on April 16, 1971, in Lake Jackson, Texas, to parents Abraham and Marcella. Along with her two older siblings, A.B. and Suzette, and encouragement from her father, Selena formed a band when she was only 9 years-old called Selena Y Los Dinos. The young group started out playing at the families Tex-Mex restaurant in Lake Jackson until they were forced to close due to a failing economy.
After Selena’s family lost their restaurant, they were evicted from the family home and forced to move, so they packed up and headed to Corpus Christi, Texas, where they settled in with some family members. Selena Y Los Dinos began to play fairs, quincaeneras, weddings, and sometimes even on street corners.
Eventually the band hit its stride, and Selena’s name started to become synonymous with Tejano music. This was a major accomplishment for the young singer, because at the time, Tejano music was predominately dominated by men. Selena was recognized for her achievements at only 15 years-old, when she won the Female Entertainer of the Year award at the Tejano Music Awards. Selena would go on to win that award for eight more years. Selena would win her first major American award in 1994, when she received the Grammy for Best Mexican/American Album.
Selena’s death would have a wide-spread impact on the music industry, her death was even compared to other music superstars that lost their lives, such as Elvis and John Lennon. Multiple memorials were held all over the world for the young star, and Texas radios played non-stop music from Selena for days. Several celebrities were reported to make contact with Selena’s family to express their condolences over the tragic loss of the their daughter, including Gloria Estefan, Madonna, and Julio Iglesias.
To this day, Selena and her music are reaching fans worldwide. Her Facebook page has over 2 million followers, and provides lots of updates about upcoming events to remember the superstar. Fans from all over will be celebrating her life at the Fiesta de la Flor, held in Corpus Christie sometime in mid-April. Spanish station Telemuendo will be airing a special this Sunday evening to honor the life and the legacy of Selena. The special will air at 6 p.m./5 p.m. central time.
[Photo courtesy of Priya Prakashan]