I remember when Selena passed away, back in 1995. I was so sad for her and her family. She was assassinated by her own fan club and boutique manager, Yolanda Salvidar, who is currently serving life imprisonment, with potential for parole in 2025.
I was eight years old then. I couldn’t make sense of it at the time but that summer when my mother and I made our usual trip to New York City (we stayed in Flatbush in Brooklyn), I saw tribute T-shirts to the singer everywhere. Graffiti painted portraits of her famous big hair and smile. Her name was written with the added details of sparkles and glitter and somewhere included would be the letters “R.I.P.” In July of 1995, her first and only partial-English album Dreaming of You was released, and the title track and “I Could Fall In Love” became regulars on American radio. We all knew she would’ve been a huge crossover star.
In 1997, the biopic about the Grammy award winner was released and remains a favorite of the Jennifer Lopez filmography.
In the years since, Selena’s legacy has been closely watched and celebrated by her fan base, with platforms like Tumblr regaling her as a style icon and a star gone too soon. Music fans would again experience a similarly sad situation when Aaliyah, at only 22-years-old, died in a plane crash in 2001. Selena was 23. They were both ’90s fashion icons, contributed iconic tunes to their genres (Tejano pop, modern R&B) and passed away at such young ages. They are missed.
Selena fans earlier this year began the campaign #SelenaForMac or #SelenaQuintanillaPerezForMAC to encourage the mega makeup brand to give the singer her own limited edition line. The same regard in the past has been given to prominent women such as screen legend Marilyn Monroe and even imaginary ones like the comic book heroine Wonder Woman. (You can add your name to the Change.org campaign here.)
March 31 is forever a hard day for the Quintanilla family and in particular, for her beloved father Abraham Quintanilla. He admitted in an interview with the Associated Press that he doesn’t necessarily join in any festivities on the anniversary of her death, but does not discourage her loyal fans from celebrating her life. Her siblings do participate in the Fiesta de la Flor, which will be held this year on April 17-18 in their hometown of Corpus Christi. Tickets only cost $5 and go towards benefitting the Selena Foundation.
Below is her 1994 hit “Amor Prohibido”, the same name of her most known album, which contains my personal favorites of “Fotos y Recuerdos” and “Techno Cumbia.” She won a Grammy Award that same year for Best Mexican/American Album for Selena Live!, a 1993 release. She was at the ceremony to accept the award and her holding the trophy backstage is one of her most shared photos ever.
Also, don’t forget to wear red lipstick as fans have initiated #RedForSelena in commemoration of the 20th anniversary.
BONUS CLIP! A great performance of “Como La Flor” and “Baila Esta Cumbia.”