Selena Quintanilla: A Star Fallen But Never Forgotten

Selena Gomez is, no doubt, one of the biggest names in pop culture today. But do you know that she was named after another Latin pop icon, Selena Quintanilla, often known as ‘The Queen of Tejano’ music?

Selena and her early life

The youngest daughter of Marcella Samora and Abraham Quintanilla Jr., she started showing her singing abilities at age 3. Her father noticed her precious talent right away and started a family band called “Selena Y Los Dinos.”

selena as a kid
Image credit: Vintage everyday

Her rise to fame

During the 1980s, Selena Y Los Dinos first started performing for the patrons in their family restaurant “Papa Gayos.” When the band started getting wide appreciation and recognition throughout Texas, Quintanilla Jr. revamped his old bus and used it for touring, where the family stayed on the road and performed continuously to keep going.

During that time, it was hard for a female to excel in a male-dominated industry, but when Selena won the Best Female Vocalist Of The Year at the tender age of 15, it opened many opportunities for her and the band.

Her life of stardom

After a great deal of effort, Selena released a number of albums like Ven Conmigo (Come With Me) and Entre a Mi Mundo (Enter My World), which hit the Gold rank and sold around 500,000 copies.

In 1993, she won her first Grammy for the Best Mexican-American album Live! making her the first female Tejano artist winning in this category.

grammy win
Image credit: selena.daily/Instagram

She also performed at the Houston Astrodome for three consecutive years each in 1993, 1994 and 1995 where the 26th February 95′ concert happened to be her last concert, but it drew around 66,994 attendees breaking the all-time record.

Selena at houston astrodome
Image credit: rollingstone.com

Her Last Days

Selena was already a huge star and way ahead of her time. Not only was she known in the USA or México, but also in the whole of Latin America. And it was during this time that Selena came across a fan named Yolanda Saldivar, (then) a registered nurse and (later) a president of Selena’s fan club and manager of her boutique.

After learning that Saldivar was embezzling money using forged cheques, Abraham along with Selena and her sister Suzette, confronted Saldivar and asked her to provide the financial record paperwork, otherwise at the end of the day they would contact the police. Abraham even banned Saldivar from accessing bank accounts, keeping the company’s credits and funds.

On 31st March 1995, Saldivar asked Selena to meet her at the Corpus Christi Days Inn because she agreed to return the bank statements and some stolen perfume samples to Selena. When Selena was about to leave the room, Saldivar shot her in the back. Selena bled through the entire courtyard and left behind a 119m long trail of blood. She collapsed in the lobby, but before passing out she identified Saldivar as the person who shot her.

The doctors did their all to revive Selena, but she was pronounced dead at 1:05 p.m. due to excessive blood loss and cardiac arrest. She was just 23 years old and was 2 days away from celebrating her 3rd marriage anniversary and short of 17 days from celebrating her 24th birthday.

The darling of the masses

The news of Selena’s death spread across the Latin and Non-Latin communities like wildfire. Over 60,000 people attended her funeral and many celebrities expressed their condolences to the Quintanilla family. Her casket was kept for the public to view and express their final grief to the late Tejano singer on 2nd April 1995.

People Magazine published a commemorative issue named SelenaHer Life In Pictures as a tribute to her which was sold out very quickly.

people magazine tribute
Image credit: People.com

Selena’s Dreaming Of You album was released and debuted at number one on the U. S. Billboard 200, and sold 175,000 copies on the first day of its release. The album had songs like I Could Fall In Love and Dreaming Of You.

Two years after Selena’s death, a biopic named Selena was released starring Jennifer Lopez. The movie was based on the life of the late singer.

The Quintanilla family opened Selena Museum which holds Selena’s special memorabilia for the public view.

Selena’s husband, Chris Perez published a book called To Selena, With Love which showcases the beautiful friendship, forbidden relationship, blooming marriage and his eternal love for his wife.

to selena with love
Image credit: Amazon.com

In addition to her legacy, fans signed a petition to honor Selena’s 20th death anniversary by having a make-up line. Thus, MAC answered the call and started working closely with Selena’s sister Suzette and announced a make-up collection called M•A•C Selena.

A wax statue of her was placed at Madame Tussauds Hollywood.

Selena's wax statue
Image credit: Madame Tussauds

Google too honored Selena with her very own Selena Quintanilla Google Doodle in order to celebrate the life and legacy of one of the Latin music’s iconic stars.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce also did their part in honoring the late Tejano superstar with her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The ceremony witnessed 4,500 fans which surpassed the earlier 4,000 fans record.

Selena's star at Hollywood walk of fame
Image credit: dailynews.com

Besides this, Netflix announced a scripted series called Selena: The Series which will be based on the life of the late Tejano singer and it is all set to be out in 2020, starring The Walking Dead actress Christian Serratos. And last year, Forever 21 launched a clothing line called Selena: The White Rose Collection in honor of the 22nd anniversary of the famous Selena biopic.

Her abiding legacy

And today, even after 25 years, Selena’s radiating smile, her positivity and legacy live on. Her fans, those who weren’t even born at the time when she passed away continue to look at her as an inspiration. Due to her several community services regarding the importance of education, achieving your goals, avoiding drugs and alcohol, being kind to others, she has left an indelible mark on the lives of millions of people.

“If you have a dream, don’t let anybody take it AWAY. and You always believe that the impossible is always POSSIBLE” – Selena

Interested in musicians? Read about Tansen.

Srushti Palkar

You will always find her in the corner binging serial killer and murder documentaries

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