If you google "Selena" these days you'll most likely see Selena Gomez and pictures with her now beau, The Weeknd (if only we could spell these days, right?). Anyhow, the Selena I know is Selena Quintanilla-Pérez pronounced [seˈlena kintaˈniʝa ˈpeɾes] and she's The Queen of Tejano music. Tejano music is a genre overshadowed by reggaeton, bachata, salsa, and the mixing of all these sounds, which is quite exquisite. Listen to El Perdon by Nicky Jam and Enrique Iglesias (available on Freegal).
Selena much like Kurt Cobain shot up in popularity after her death. She was murdered by her ex-employee Yolanda Saldivar. At the time of her death in 1995 I was graduating High School and clearly remember the news. For years after her death everyone named their daughters after her. Teaching Kindergarten in Phoenix, Arizona I remember having 6 or 7 girls named Selena in my classroom alone. The impact was felt throughout the southwest and in many parts of Mexico. Her life as a Mexican-American started the dialogue about so-called "Pochos," Mexicans who aren't really Mexican and not really American. Caught between two cultures and not fitting in on either end.
Today, Friday, March 31 marks the 22nd anniversary of her death, the birthday of civil rights and labor movement leader Cesar Chavez, and International Transgender Day of Visibility. In many places Cesar Chavez day is celebrated as a day of service. I was remembering Selena's music recently and came across the song Amor Prohibido, which speaks of true love and her struggle to be accepted in "distintas sociedades" or other societies. I know if Selena were alive today she would embrace the fight for equal treatment of women, immigrants and transgender people. Like her songs and the fight from Cesar Chavez, make this 31 of March a day of service to those in need.
Here are some great Selena CDs:
Share some of your memories of Selena in the comments below!