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This article is about the Tejano singer. For the film based on her life, see . For other uses, see .

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez (Spanish: ; April 16, 1971 – March 31, 1995) was an American singer, songwriter, spokesperson, model, actress, and fashion designer. Called the , her contributions to music and fashion made her one of the most celebrated entertainers of the late 20th century. magazine named her the top-selling Latin artist of the 1990s decade, while her posthumous collaboration with became the best-selling celebrity collection in . Media outlets called her the "Tejano " for her clothing choices. She also ranks and is credited for catapulting a music genre into the market.

The youngest child of the Quintanilla family, she debuted on the music scene in 1980 as a member of the band , which also included her elder siblings and . Selena began recording professionally in 1982. In the 1980s, she was often criticized and was refused bookings at venues across Texas for performing —a male-dominated music genre. However, her popularity grew after she won the for in 1987, which she won nine consecutive times. Selena signed with in 1989 and released her the same year, while her brother became her principal music producer and songwriter.

Selena released (1992), which peaked at number one on the US Billboard chart for eight consecutive months. The album's commercial success led music critics to call it the "breakthrough" recording of her musical career. One of its singles, "", became one of her most popular . (1993) won at the , becoming the first recording by a female Tejano artist to do so. In 1994, Selena released , which became one of the . It was critically acclaimed as being responsible for Tejano music's first marketable era as it became one of the most popular subgenres at the time. Amor Prohibido has been ranked among the most essential Latin recordings of the past 50 years by Billboard magazine while the publication nominated it for its list of the top 100 albums of all-time. It ranked number 19 on 's list of the 150 greatest albums made by women.

Aside from music, Selena was active in her community and donated her time to civic causes. Coca-Cola appointed her its spokesperson in Texas. Selena became a sex icon; she was often criticized for wearing suggestive outfits in light of her comments about being a role model for young women. Selena and her guitarist, , eloped in April 1992 after her father raised concerns over their relationship. On March 31, 1995, Selena was by , her friend and former manager of her . Saldívar was cornered by police when she attempted to flee, and threatened to kill herself, but was convinced to give herself up and was sentenced to life in prison with a possible parole after 30 years. Two weeks later, —governor of Texas at the time—declared Selena's birthday Selena Day in Texas. Her posthumous album, (1995), debuted atop the , making Selena the first Latin artist to accomplish this feat. In 1997, released , a film about her life and career, which starred as Selena and as Saldívar. As of 2015, Selena has sold over 65 million albums worldwide, making her the best-selling .


Life and career

1971–1988: Early life and career beginnings

Selena Quintanilla was born on April 16, 1971 in . She was the youngest child of Marcella Ofelia Quintanilla (née Samora) who had ancestry and , a former musician.Selena was raised as a . Quintanilla, Jr. noticed her musical abilities when she was six years old. He told magazine, "Her timing, her pitch were perfect, I could see it from day one". In 1980 in Lake Jackson, Quintanilla, Jr. opened his first Tex-Mex restaurant, Papa Gayo's, where Selena and her siblings (on bass guitar) and Suzette Quintanilla (on drums) would often perform. The following year, the restaurant was forced to close after a recession caused by the . The family declared bankruptcy and were evicted from their home. They settled in ; Quintanilla, Jr. became manager of the newly formed band and began promoting it. They needed money and played on street corners, at weddings, at , and at fairs.

As her popularity as a singer grew, the demands of Selena's performance and travel schedule began to interfere with her education. Her father took her out of school when she was in the eighth grade. Her teacher Marilyn Greer disapproved of Selena's musical career. She threatened to report Quintanilla, Jr. to the , believing the conditions to which Selena was exposed were inappropriate for a girl her age. Quintanilla, Jr. told Greer to "mind her business". Other teachers expressed their concerns when they noticed how tired Selena appeared when she arrived at school. At seventeen, Selena earned a high school diploma from the in , and was also accepted at . She enrolled at , taking up business administration as her major subject.

Quintanilla, Jr. refurbished an old bus; he named it "Big Bertha" and the family used it as their tour bus. In the first years of touring, the family sang for food and barely had enough money to pay for gasoline. In 1984, Selena recorded her first , Selena y Los Dinos, for Freddie Records. Despite wanting to record English-language songs, Selena recorded compositions; a male-dominated, Spanish-language genre with German influences of , , and , popularized by Mexicans living in the United States. Quintanilla, Jr. believed Selena should record musical compositions related to her heritage. During the recording sessions for the album, Selena had to learn Spanish phonetically with guidance from her father. In 1985, to promote the album, Selena appeared on the , a popular Spanish-language radio program, on which she continued to appear for several years. Selena was discovered by musician , founder of the , where she won the award in 1987 and for nine consecutive years after. The band was often turned down by Texas music venues because of the members' ages and because Selena was their lead singer. Her father was often told by promoters that Selena would never be successful because she was a woman in a genre historically dominated by men. By 1988, Selena had released five more LP records; Alpha (1986), Munequito de Trapo (1987), And the Winner is... (1987), Preciosa (1988), and Dulce Amor (1988).

1989–1991: Selena, Ven Conmigo, and relationship with Pérez

(pictured in 2012) and Selena began a relationship, despite her father's disapproval

of newly formed label Records, together with the new head of , watched Selena perform at the . Behar was searching for new Latin acts and wanted to sign Selena to EMI's label Capitol Records, while Sony Music Latin offered Quintanilla, Jr. twice Capitol's signing fee. Behar thought he had discovered the "next " but his superior called Behar illogical because he had been in South Texas less than a week. Quintanilla, Jr. chose EMI Latin's offer because of the potential for a album, and wanted his children to be the first musicians to sign to the label. Before Selena began recording for her debut album, Behar and requested a crossover album for her. She recorded three English-language compositions for the heads of EMI's pop division. Behar and Finfer's request for a crossover album was denied and Selena was told she needed a bigger fan base to sell such an album. Behar thought EMI Records and the public did not believe that a Mexican American woman could have "crossover potential" after denied the project.

Selena released her on October 17, 1989. The singer recorded most of the songs at AMEN Studios in ; "" and "My Love" were recorded at Sunrise Studios in . Selena wrote "My Love" and wanted the song to be included on the album. Her brother A.B., became Selena's principal record producer and songwriter for most of her musical career, though did not write the tracks "Sukiyaki", "Contigo Quiero Estar", and "No Te Vayas". "Sukiyaki" was originally recorded in Japanese in the 1960s by ; Selena used a translation into Spanish of an English version of the song by Janice Marie Johnson.Selena peaked at number seven on the US Billboard chart, becoming Selena's first recording to debut on a national music chart. The album performed better than other recordings from other contemporaneous female Tejano singers.

In the same year, wanted Selena to become one of their spokespeople in Texas. The jingle used in her first two commercials for the company were composed by A.B. and —the latter of whom had joined Selena y Los Dinos several months earlier as the band's new guitarist. Pérez began having romantic feelings for Selena, despite having a girlfriend in San Antonio. After a trip down to Mexico with the band, Pérez thought it would be best for them both to distance himself from her, but he found that impossible and chose to try to build a relationship with her. They expressed their feelings for each other at a restaurant, and shortly afterwards became a couple. Pérez and Selena hid their relationship, fearing Quintanilla, Jr. would try to break it up.

Selena released her second studio album, , in September 1990. Three tracks from Ven Conmigo were released as singles; "Ya Ves", "La Tracalera", and "". The latter, a song, became one of Selena's most successful single. Its popularity grew in Mexico, where a compilation album bearing the single's name was released there, which was certified platinum by the (AMPROFON), denoting sales of 150,000 units.

A registered nurse and fan named asked Quintanilla, Jr. to start a fan club in San Antonio. Saldívar had the idea after she had attended one of Selena's concerts. Quintanilla, Jr. approved Saldívar's request; he believed the fan club would bring more exposure for the band. Saldívar soon became a close friend to Selena and the family; she was trusted and became the acting president of the fan club in 1991. That same year, singer composed a duet he wanted to record with Selena. The song, "", was produced by Enrique Elizondo and was released on Torres' tenth studio album (1991). "Buenos Amigos" peaked at number one on the US Billboard Top Latin Songs chart, giving Selena her first number one single. The song's music video earned Selena and Torres two nominations at the 1992 . The track was also nominated for Duo of the Year at the . Biographer Deborah Parédez wrote that the track enabled Selena to tour the west and east coasts of the United States. According to John Lannert of Billboard magazine, "Buenos Amigos" was helped by increased airplay on regional Mexican and Tejano radio stations, which had previously dismissed Selena's recordings.

1992–1993: Elopement, Entre a Mi Mundo, and Selena Live

Selena's sister Suzette found Selena and Pérez flirting with each other and immediately informed their father. Quintanilla, Jr. took Pérez off the bus and told him his relationship with Selena was over.Selena and Pérez continued their relationship despite Quintanilla, Jr's disapproval;Selena's mother Marcella approved of their relationship. Quintanilla, Jr. saw Selena and Pérez romantically together on the bus after he informed them of his disapproval; he pulled over and an argument between Quintanilla, Jr. and Selena ensued. He called Pérez a "cancer in my family" and threatened to disband the group if they continued their relationship.Selena and Pérez relented; Quintanilla, Jr. fired Pérez from the band and prevented Selena from leaving with him. After his dismissal, Pérez and Selena secretly continued their relationship. On the morning of April 2, 1992, Selena and Pérez decided to , believing Quintanilla, Jr. would never approve of their relationship.Selena thought Quintanilla, Jr. would have to accept them if they were married, and would not have to hide their feelings for each other. Within hours of their marriage, the media announced the couple's elopement.Selena's family tried to find her; Quintanilla, Jr. did not take the news well and alienated himself for some time.Selena and Pérez moved into an apartment in Corpus Christi. In interviews, Quintanilla, Jr. expressed how he feared Pérez could be a (Spanish for a male chauvinist), who would force Selena to end her career and music goals, a move that prevented Quintanilla, Jr. to accept Pérez as being suitable for Selena at the time. Quintanilla, Jr. later approached Pérez, apologized, accepted the marriage, and took Pérez back into the band.

A month after her elopement, Selena released her third studio album, , in May 1992. The album was critically acclaimed as her "breakthrough album". The recording peaked at number one on the US Billboard Regional Mexican Albums chart for eight consecutive months; it was certified 10x platinum by the RIAA for sales of 600,000 , while in Mexico, the album sold 385,000 units.Entre a Mi Mundo became the first Tejano album by a female artist to sell over 300,000 copies.Selena was booked for a high-profile border press tour in , with music media types in a meet-and-greet conference. At the time, Tejanos were looked down on as "hayseed pochos" among Mexican citizens. The singer's Spanish was far from fluent; EMI Latin executives were "terrified" about the singer's limited Spanish during the press conference for the album in Mexico. According to Patoski, Selena "played her cards right" during the conference and won over the Mexican media after newspapers hailed her as "an artist of the people". The newspapers found her to be a refreshing change from Mexican actors "who were fair-skinned, blond-haired, and green-eyed." After her publicity press, Selena was booked to play at several concerts throughout Mexico, including a performance at Festival Acapulco in May 1993, which garnered her critical acclaim. Her performance in on September 17, 1993 was attended by 70,000 people, garnering her the title of the biggest Tejano act in Mexico. The album produced four singles; "", "", "La Carcacha", and "". "Como la Flor" became Selena's ; it was critically acclaim by music critics as a career launcher for Selena. "Como la Flor" helped Selena to dominate the Latin music charts and become immensely popular in Mexico — where Mexican-Americans were generally not liked among citizens — which was well received by critics. The track was nominated for at the . The single peaked at number six on the US Billboard Top Latin Songs chart. In 1994, Entre a Mi Mundo ranked as the second best-selling regional Mexican album of all-time.

Selena released a year after Entre a Mi Mundo; it was recorded during a free concert at the in Corpus Christi, on February 7, 1993. The album included previously released tracks that were sung live and three studio recordings; "", "", and "Tú Robaste Mi Corazón" — a duet with Tejano musician . The tracks "No Debes Jugar" and "La Llamada" peaked within the top five on the US Billboard Top Latin Songs chart.Live! won the for at the . In May 1994, Live! was named Album of the Year by the . At the , Live! won , while at the , it was nominated for .Live! was certified gold by the RIAA for shipments of 500,000 copies, while in Mexico it sold 250,000 units.Selena briefly appeared opposite in a Mexican telenovela titled . In 1995 she entered negotiations to star in another telenovela produced by . She appeared in two episodes, which garnered record ratings for the series.

1994–1995: Fashion venture, film debut, and Amor Prohibido

Aside from music, in 1994 Selena began designing and manufacturing a line of clothing; she opened two boutiques called , one in Corpus Christi and the other in San Antonio. Both were equipped with in-house beauty salons. She was in negotiations to open more stores in , Mexico, and . Saldívar managed both boutiques after the Quintanilla family were impressed with the way she managed the fan club.Hispanic Business magazine reported that the singer earned over five million dollars from these boutiques. She was ranked among the twentieth-wealthiest Hispanic musicians who grossed the highest income in 1993 and 1994.Selena released her fourth studio album, , in March 1994. The recording debuted at number three on the US chart and number one on the US Billboard Regional Mexican Albums charts. After peaking at number one on the Top Latin Albums, the album remained in the top five for the remainder of the year and into early 1995.Amor Prohibido became the second Tejano album to reach year-end sales of 500,000 copies, which had previously only been accomplished by . It became one of the .Amor Prohibido spawned four number one singles; the , "", "", and "".Amor Prohibido was among the of 1995, and has been certified 36x platinum by the RIAA for sales of 2.16 million album-equivalent units in the United States. The album was named on Tom Moon's list of the 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die: A Listener's Life List (2008).

Amor Prohibido popularized Tejano music among a younger and wider audience than at any other time in the genre's history. The two singles, "Amor Prohibido" and "No Me Queda Más", were the most successful US Latin singles of , respectively. The album's commercial success led to a Grammy nomination for Best Mexican/American Album at the in 1995. It won Record of the Year at the and Regional/Mexican Album of the Year at the .Selena was named "one of Latin music's most successful touring acts" during her Amor Prohibido tour. After Amor Prohibido's release, Selena was considered "bigger than Tejano itself", and broke barriers in the Latin music world. She was called the "Queen of Tejano music" by many media outlets.Billboard magazine ranked Amor Prohibido among the most essential Latin recordings of the past 50 years, and included it on its list of the top 100 albums of all-time. In 2017, ranked Amor Prohibido at number 19 on their list of the 150 greatest albums made by women. Sales of the album and its titular single represented Tejano music's first commercial success in Puerto Rico.Selena recorded a duet titled "" with the , which was released on their album of the same name in 1994. The song reached number one on the Top Latin Songs chart, which enabled Selena to tour in New York City, Argentina, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Central America, where she was not well known. In late 1994, EMI chairman Charles Koppelman decided Selena had achieved her goals in the Spanish-speaking market. He wanted to promote her as an English-language solo pop artist. Selena continued touring while EMI began preparing the crossover album, engaging Grammy Award-winning composers. By the time Selena performed to a record-breaking, sold out concert at the in February 1995, work had already begun on her crossover album. In 1995, she made a in , which starred , , and .


Main articles: and

The Quintanilla family appointed Yolanda Saldívar as manager of Selena's boutiques in early 1994. Eight months later, Selena signed Saldívar as her in San Antonio, Texas. After the agreement, Saldívar moved from San Antonio to Corpus Christi to be closer to Selena. In December 1994, the boutiques began to suffer after the number of staff for both stores had decreased. According to staff members, Saldívar often dismissed employees she personally disliked. Employees at the stores regularly complained about Saldívar's behavior to Selena, who dismissed the claims, believing Saldívar would not negatively impose erratic decisions on Selena's fashion venture. According to Quintanilla, Jr., the staff later turned their attention to him and began informing him about Saldívar's behavior. Quintanilla, Jr. took the claims seriously; he told Selena to "be careful" and said Saldívar may not be a good influence.Selena dismissed her father's inquiries because he had often distrusted people in the past. By January 1995, Selena's fashion designer Martin Gomez, her cousin Debra Ramirez, and clients expressed their concerns over Saldívar's behavior and management skills. During an interview with Saldívar in 1995, reporters from said her devotion to Selena bordered on obsession.

According to Quintanilla, Jr., in January 1995 he began receiving telephone calls from fans who said they had paid for membership in the Selena fan club and had received nothing in return for it, and he began an investigation. Quintanilla, Jr. discovered that Saldívar had embezzled more than ,000 via forged checks from both the fan club and the boutiques. Quintanilla, Jr. held a meeting with Selena and Suzette on the night of March 9 at to confront Saldívar. Quintanilla, Jr. presented Saldívar with the inconsistencies concerning the disappeared funds. Quintanilla, Jr. told her that if she did not provide evidence that disproved his accusations, he would involve the local police. Quintanilla, Jr. banned Saldívar from having any contact with Selena. However, Selena did not want to dissolve their friendship; she thought Saldívar was essential to the success of the clothing line in Mexico. Selena also wanted to keep her close because she had bank records, statements, and financial records necessary for tax preparation.

In the days before Selena's death, Saldívar delayed handing over the bank statements and financial records by saying she had been physically and sexually assaulted in Mexico. Saldívar, along with Selena, appeared at a medical clinic on March 31, 1995, ostensibly to have Saldívar examined for an assault which she claimed happened to her in Monterrey. During that visit, Saldívar was given a brief physical examination by the clinic's doctor, but this did not include a gynecological exam specifically done in cases of sexual assault. It was suggested by nurse Carla Anthony that Saldívar needed to have the rape exam in San Antonio for three reasons: Saldívar was a resident of San Antonio, the clinic they were currently at was in Corpus Christi, and the assault occurred in Mexico. Afterwards, Selena again met with Saldívar in her hotel room at the in Corpus Christi. At the hotel, Selena demanded the financial papers. At 11:48 a.m. (CST), Saldívar got a gun from her purse and pointed it at Selena. As Selena attempted to flee, Saldívar shot her once on the right lower shoulder, severing an artery and causing a severe loss of blood. Critically wounded, Selena ran towards the lobby, leaving a 392-foot (119 m)-long trail of blood. She collapsed on the floor as the clerk called the emergency services, with Saldívar still chasing after her and calling her a "". Before collapsing, Selena named Saldívar as her assailant and gave the number of the room where she had been shot. Meanwhile, Saldívar attempted to leave in her pickup truck. She was, however, spotted by a responding police cruiser. She surrendered after a nearly nine-and-a-half-hour standoff with police and the FBI. By that time, hundreds of fans had gathered at the scene; many wept as police took Saldívar away.

Selena was dead on arrival at the Corpus Christi hospital. The attending emergency room physician made the decision to attempt to revive her. Cardiologist Louis Elkins continued the treatment and performed surgery based on the emergency room physician's decision. Doctors were able to establish an "erratic heartbeat" long enough to transfer her to the . After 50 minutes of surgery, she was pronounced dead from and at 1:05 p.m. (CST). An was performed on the same day due to overwhelming media interest. It revealed that the bullet had entered Selena's upper right back, near her shoulder blade, passed through her , severed the right subclavian artery, and exited her right upper chest. Doctors said that if the bullet had been only one millimeter higher or lower, the wound would have been less severe.


Selena's grave at Seaside Memorial Park in Corpus Christi, Texas

On April 1, Bayfront Plaza in Corpus Christi held a vigil which drew 3,000 fans. During the event, it was announced that a public viewing of the casket would be held at the Bayfront Auditorium the following day. Fans lined up for almost a mile (1500 m). An hour before the doors opened, rumors that the casket was empty began circulating, which prompted the Quintanilla family to have an open-casket viewing. About 30,000 to 40,000 fans passed by Selena's casket. More than 78,000 signed a book of condolence. Flowers for the casket viewing were imported from The Netherlands. At the request of Selena's family, video and flash photography was banned.

On April 3, 1995, six hundred guests—mostly family members—attended Selena's burial at Seaside Memorial Park in , which was broadcast live by a Corpus Christi and San Antonio radio station without the consent of her family. A minister from Lake Jackson preached in English, quoting 's words in . Hundreds of people began circling the area in their vehicles. Among the celebrities who attended Selena's funeral were , , , Navaira, , Elsa Garcia, La Mafia, Ram Herrera, Imagen Latina, and . A special mass held the same day at drew a crowd of 4,000.


Selena's murder had a widespread impact. Reactions to her death were compared to those following the deaths of musicians , , and . Major television networks interrupted their regular programming to break the news; referred to Selena as "The Mexican ". Her death was front-page news in for two days. Numerous vigils and memorials were held in her honor, and radio stations in Texas played her music non-stop. Her funeral drew 60,000 mourners, many of whom traveled from outside the United States. The news struck the community extremely hard; many fans traveled thousands of miles to see Selena's house and boutiques, and the crime scene. By mid-afternoon, police were asked to form a because a line of cars began backing up traffic from the Quintanillas' houses. Among the celebrities who were reported to have contacted the Quintanilla family to express their condolences were Gloria Estefan, , , and Madonna. Other celebrities—including Stefani Montiel, Jaime DeAnda (of ), and —appeared on radio stations to express their thoughts about Selena's death. An issue of People magazine was released several days after her murder. Its publishers believed interest would soon wane; they released a commemorative issue within a week when it became apparent it was growing. The issue sold nearly a million copies, selling the entire first and second print runs within two weeks. It became a collector's item, a first in the history of People. Betty Cortina, editor of People, told Biography they never had an issue that was completely sold out; "it was unheard of". In the following months, the company released aimed at the Hispanic market, due to the success of the Selena issue. This was followed by and magazine.

A few days later, mocked Selena's murder and burial, poked fun at her mourners, and criticized her music. Stern said, "This music does absolutely nothing for me. have more soul ... Spanish people have the worst taste in music. They have no depth." Stern's comments outraged and infuriated the Hispanic community in Texas. Stern played Selena's songs with gunshots in the background on his show. After a arrest warrant was issued in his name, Stern made an on-air statement, in Spanish, saying his comments were not made to cause "more anguish to her family, friends and those who loved her". Stern was not formally charged. The boycotted Stern's show, finding his apology unacceptable. Texas retailers removed any products that were related to Stern, while and sent a letter stating their disapproval of Stern's comments to the media, because some fans believed the companies sponsored Stern's show. Within a week, on 's , Stern and (his co-host) were asked whether Stern's remarks about Selena were acceptable. Quivers decided not to talk about the situation to avoid arguing with Stern. When —a pop singer of Mexican-American heritage—appeared on the show, she and Quivers argued when Ronstadt defended Selena.

On April 12, 1995, two weeks after Selena's death, , governor of Texas at the time, declared her birthday, April 16, in the state. He said Selena represented "the essence of south Texas culture." Some European Americans in Texas wrote to the editor of the during April and May, asking what the big deal was; some were offended that Selena Day fell on . Others said, "Easter is more important than Selena Day", and that they believed people should let Selena rest in peace and continue with their lives. Mexican Americans in Texas wrote vociferously to the newspaper. Some said others were too critical of Selena Day, and should not have responded so rudely.

In October 1995, a Houston jury convicted Saldívar of and sentenced her to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years in 2025. Life with the possibility of parole was the maximum prison term allowed in Texas that could be imposed at the time. In 2002, under a judge's order, the gun used to kill Selena was destroyed and the pieces were thrown into . Fans and historians disapproved of the decision to destroy the gun, saying the event was historical and the gun should have been in a museum.


Selena's was . In an April 1995 interview with Billboard magazine, Behar said he saw Selena as a "cross between and in style, feel, and vocal range". Although Selena did not write most of her songs, she incorporated ,, ,, and into her Tejano music repertoire. Mario Tarradell of The Dallas Morning News said that during her music career, Selena "merges Tejano's infectious cumbia rhythm with street-savvy R&B, old-school soul, dancehall reggae, sizzling salsa, and trippy, loopy funk".Selena's recordings expressed "love and pain, as well as strength and passion", according to Charles Tatum. She also recorded independently driven, female-empowerment-themed compositions; "Si La Quieres", "¿Qué Creías?", "Ya Ves" and "Ya No", which centered around inappropriate relationships and recovery from domestic violence. Peter Watrous of The New York Times said Selena's voice "sometimes quivered", and that she "roughed it up a bit". He continued, "[a]t its best, it had a coolness, a type of unadorned passion". called her music "cursi-melodramatic, cheesy, overemotional, not too far from and a relative of Iglesias". of Time magazine said her songs "are perky, cheerful rather than soulful", and that earlier recordings, "with their tinny, Tijuana Brass charts, and keyboards that evoke calliopes, are ideal for the fairground or merry-go-round". Corliss calls Selena's singing an "expert mimicry of everything from Édith Piaf's melodramatic contralto to the coloratura riffs of Mariah Carey. But the sounds are still lightly Hispanic."

"Dreaming of You", an English-language recording, became one of four English cuts Selena recorded for her crossover from Spanish into English pop music.

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Newsweek magazine called Selena's English-language recordings "a blend of urban pop and Latin warmth". According to , Selena's brother modernized her music into a more "funk and hip hop" sound.Selena's use of emotive range during her musical career has been praised by critics as being her trademark. A.B. wrote increasingly cumbia-influenced songs for Ven Conmigo (1990); Ramiro Burr of Billboard said Selena and her band had "evolved a rhythmic style that demonstrated its increasing prowess for catchy cumbias such as 'Baila Esta Cumbia' and the title track". Italian essayist Gaetano Prampolini wrote that "Selena's voice projected a sonorous warmth and joyfulness" during her review of Selena's cumbia recordings. In his review of the remix album (2012), of wrote that Selena's songs were "rooted in the '90s and sound that way".

Public image

Quintanilla, Jr. sought to maintain Selena's image clean and family-oriented. In 1989, she was offered sponsorship from beer companies but her father turned them down.Selena was often refused gigs at Tejano venues because she was a female singer in a male-dominated music scene. Manuel Peña wrote that after 1989, Selena's popularity increased and she became a sex icon following the release of her debut album. Charles Tatum said Selena drew most attention from her "beauty, sexuality, and youthful impact on the Tejano music scene".Selena said she never wanted to record explicit songs because of her upbringing and because her fan base consisted largely of young children, who regarded her as a role model. She further commented on the question of her to men during her crossover attempt, asserting that she will "stay the same" and that her English-language recordings will refrain from foul language and sexual themes. In 1997, wrote in her book about Selena's death that the singer was a "sweet and charismatic girl". According to Arrarás, Selena "trusted everyone"; she often went shopping alone, despite her father's concerns over her safety.

Betty Cortina of People magazine said Selena's provocative choice of clothing was an acceptable emulation of Janet Jackson and Madonna, and that she wore "sexy outfits that [accentuated] a body of a Latina woman". Cortina also stated that Selena had a "flamboyant style, an unbelievable body, curves and booty". Arrarás wrote that Selena "began wearing clothes designed to emphasize her curvaceous figure" and that she "never came across as cheap-simply sexy". She also said Selena's makeup regimen was not being "painted up or vulgar". Arrarás also noted Selena's "fun-loving stage manner" and said she was "playful onstage and off". Matt S. Meier wrote in his book The Mexican American Experience: An Encyclopedia (2010) that Selena exhibited "contagious energy" during her concerts and said she displayed "warmth, passion, and sexuality" while exuding a "down-to-earth persona of the wholesome young girl next door".Selena wore outfits that accented her physical attributes and was not afraid to wear outfits she liked, despite criticism from parents who thought Selena's choice of outfits were inappropriate for young girls, who began emulating Selena. Her views on public image in the fashion industry were bothersome; she said she was opposed to the image that all woman should be "rail-thin" and the notion that they must wear certain outfits and be "super-young to be beautiful".

In the early 1990s, Selena began wearing decorative , spandex or tight pants, and attractive, unbuttoned jackets during her concerts. She was inspired by Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson, and Madonna. During a 1992 interview, Selena said her choice of clothing does not reflect her personality. called Selena's outfit "provocative". Because of her choices of outfits and dance moves, she was named by her fans as the "Mexican Madonna". According to Suzette, Selena often designed and sewed her own outfits backstage with her designers, moments before she was due on stage. Quintanilla, Jr. disapproved of Selena's outfits, but he later accepted it when Selena discussed about it being a fashion trend.Selena became an inactive member of the Jehovah's Witnesses due to her exotic clothing. During the photo shoot for Entre a Mi Mundo (1992), a photographer remarked on the ways Selena's choice of clothing affected Quintanilla, Jr. tremendously; he often left sessions when Selena appeared in revealing outfits.Selena was credited as the first women to change public perceptions of feminine beauty in the Tejano market; a , she blazed a trail for other female artists during her career.

Following Selena's death, some celebrities questioned her status as a role model among Hispanic women. In her about the singer, filmmaker expressed concerns whether Selena was a great role model to young women. Portillo believed Selena was sending the wrong message to young girls by dancing in clothing that suggested hypersexualization. American author agreed with Portillo's assessment that Selena was "not a good role model to Latina women". Media outlets also shared Portillo's views; they said the "fairy tale story" of Selena was one that her family would want to preserve, questioning Quintanilla, Jr.'s role for pushing an image that Selena had "never made mistakes" into the media, calling it "lies" and "not the real story".


During her childhood, Selena helped organizations such as . She was active in the U.S. Latino community, visiting local schools to talk to students about the importance of education. At Fulmore Junior High School in , she educated two hundred high school students about positive attitudes and setting life-goals in their adult lives.Selena urged children to stay in school, and that alcohol and drugs will lead them nowhere in life. She spent her free time helping her community. Selena performed in to celebrate the forming of the . Following the aftermath of , Selena helped victims in Florida by performing at a Houston benefit concert.

In August 1994, Selena hosted a charity baseball game to raise money for unspecified charities. She also donated her time to civic organizations such as and planned a fundraising concert to help patients.Selena participated with the Texas Prevention Partnership which was sponsored by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Dep Corporation), which released an educational video that was sent to students for free. Her pro-education videos included "My Music" and "Selena Agrees". She was in the works for a - benefit concert.

In January 1995, Selena headlined the Teach the Children festival in San Antonio. The concert funded a non-profit program to provide school supplies to needy children.Selena was a spokesperson for women in abusive relationships. She also helped out at homeless shelters. According to the television series , Selena's fans were often minorities; she encouraged them to make the most of their lives.

Legacy and influence

See also:

Selena has been credited for helping redefine and its subgenres of Tejano, cumbia, and Latin pop.Selena broke barriers in the Latin music world. She is considered "one of the most significant Mexican American singers of the end of the twentieth century".People magazine named Selena one of the most intriguing people of the 20th century. US Senator named Selena one of "the spirited women who shaped [the United States]."Selena also became one of the "most celebrated cultural products" of the United States-Mexico borderlands.Selena was called the "", and was described as "the most important and popular Tejano star of all time". Her death was "the most devastating loss" in Tejano music history, according to Zach Quaintance of . At the time of her death, Selena became one of the most widely known Mexican-American vocal artists and the most popular Latin artist in the United States. She had a "cult-like" following among Hispanics.

Selena has been named one of the most influential Latin artists of all-time and has been credited for elevating a music genre into the market.Latin Post called the singer "one of the most iconic artists in Latin American music history", while The New York Times called her "arguably the most important Latina musician in the country, on her way to becoming one of the most important, period."Selena became a household name in the United States and in Mexico following her death and became part of the American pop culture. She became more popular in death than when she was alive. After her death, her popularity among the Hispanic population was compared to those of and Madonna in Anglo-American culture. According to author Carlota Caulfield, Selena was "one of the most popular Latina singers of the 1990s".Selena's popularity was drawn in by the and minority groups in the United States. The popularity of Tejano music waned after her death and has not recovered. John Lannert of Billboard said in an interview with Biography in 2007 that when Selena died the "Tejano market died with her".

, the crossover album Selena had been working on at the time of her death, was released in July 1995. It sold 175,000 copies on the day of its release in the U.S. — a then-record for a female vocalist — and sold 331,000 copies its first week.Selena became the third female artist to sell over 300,000 units in one week, after Janet Jackson and . It debuted at number one on the U.S. chart, becoming the first album by a Hispanic artist to do so.Dreaming of You helped Selena to become the first solo artist to debut a posthumous album at number one.Dreaming of You joined five of Selena's studio albums on the Billboard 200 chart simultaneously, making Selena the first female artist in Billboard history to do so. The album was certified 59× platinum (Latin field), for sales of 3.54 million album-equivalent units in the U.S. alone. As of 2017 it has sold over 2.942 million copies in the U.S. making it the best-selling Latin album of all-time in the country according to . As of 2015, the recording has sold five million copies worldwide. In 2008, of the said its lead single, "", had "made the Tejano goddess a posthumous crossover star". Her death was believed to have sparked an interest in Latin music by people who were unaware of its existence. It was also believed her death "open[ed] the doors" to other Latin musicians such as ,, and .

In 1995, the ranked the name Selena one of the 100 most popular names for newborn girls, and namesake acknowledged Quintanilla's influence. In December 1999, Selena was named the "top Latin artist of the '90s" and "Best selling Latin artist of the decade" by Billboard for her fourteen top-ten singles in the Top Latin Songs chart, including seven number-one hits. She was the best-selling Latin female singer of the 1990s in the U.S. and Mexico.Selena was named "Best Female Vocalist of the '80s" and "Best Female Vocalist of the '90s" at the .

Posthumous film and honors

In the months following her death, a number of honors and tributes were erected. Several proposals were made, such as renaming streets, public parks, food products, and auditoriums. Two months later, a tribute was held at the 1995 Lo Nuestro Awards. The Spirit of Hope Award was created in Selena's honor in 1996; it was awarded to Latin artists who participated in humanitarian and civic causes. On March 16, 2011, the released a "Latin Legends" memorial stamp to honor Selena, , , Celia Cruz, and . In February 2014, the Albany, NY named her one of "100 Coolest Americans in History". In 1997 Selena was commemorated with a museum.

In 1995, Selena was inducted into the , the 's Hall of Fame, and the South Texas Music Hall of Fame. In 2001 she was inducted into the Tejano Music Hall of Fame. In 2017, she received a star on the . The unveiling ceremony of her star was attended by around 4,500 fans, which was the largest-ever crowd for an unveiling ceremony at the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was named one of the 20 most influential Texans of all time by author Laurie Jasinski. She was ranked fifth of the "100 most influential Latin musicians of the 20th century" according to the . The singer has been given many epithets by media outlets, including the "Queen of Latin music", the "Queen of Cumbia", the "Chicana Elvis", the "Queen of hybrid pop culture", the "Hispanic Marilyn Monroe", the " of Latin music", the "Corpus Christi queen", and the "people's princess". Media have compared Selena's fashion sense to that of Madonna more times than any other celebrity.

In 1995, Mexican actress was chosen to play the role of Selena in a biopic film produced by the Quintanilla family and Hayek turned the role down; she said she felt it was "too early" to base a movie on Selena and that it would be emotional because Selena's death was still being covered on U.S. television. Puerto Rican-American actress replaced Hayek, which drew criticism because of Lopez' Puerto-Rican ancestry. Over 21,000 people auditioned for the title role, becoming the second largest audition since the search for in (1939). directed the film, which was released on March 21, 1997. After seeing Lopez' performance in it, fans changed their views on her. Selena opened in 1,850 theaters worldwide and grossed ,615,722, making it the second-highest-grossing film debut that week. With a production budget of million, the film grossed million in the U.S. The film was a commercial and critical success and is often cited by critics as Lopez' . Lopez rose into pop culture, for which the film's success was credited.

In 1999, a Broadway-bound musical titled Selena was scheduled to premiere in San Antonio in March 2000 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of her murder. Broadway producers , Jerry Frankel, , and staged the musical, and Edward Gallardo wrote the show's book and lyrics. composed the show's songs. In 2000, was first produced; the show embarked on a 30-city U.S. tour with a budget of over US million. After a national casting call, producers chose to portray Selena; Vasquez alternated in the role with Rebecca Valdez. The musical previewed on March 21, and opened on March 23 at the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium.

Selena's family and her former band, Los Dinos, held a tribute concert on April 7, 2005, a week after the 10th anniversary of her murder. The concert, titled , was broadcast live on and achieved a 35.9 . It was the highest-rated and most-viewed Spanish-language television special in the history of American television. The special was also the number-one program in any language among adults ages 18 to 34 in Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco; it tied for first in New York, beating that night's episode of 's reality show . Among Hispanic viewers, Selena ¡VIVE! outperformed and the telenovela during the "most-watched NFL season ever among Hispanics".

In January 2015, it was announced that a two-day annual event called would be held in Corpus Christi for Selena by the Corpus Christi Visitors Bureau. Musical acts for the first annual event included , Chris Pérez, , Jay Perez, , , Stefani Montiel of , 's Nina Diaz, Las Fenix, and competitor . The event raised million with an attendance of 52,000 people with 72% of whom lived outside of Corpus Christi. The event sparked interest from people in 35 states and five different countries including Mexico, Brazil, and Ecuador.

On August 30, 2016, a of Selena was unveiled at . In October 2016, released a limited edition Selena makeup line after senior producer started a petition for the company to do so and it garnering over 37,000 signatures. It became the best-selling celebrity line in . She was inducted into the at in October 2016. An exhibit at the in Washington, D.C. that ran in 2017, focused on Selena's influence in marketing. "Due to her massive appeal to both general and Latino markets, advertisers began targeting specific demographics for the first time."

honored Selena on October 17, 2017 with a musical of her life.[317] In January 2018, it was announced that an inspired television series based on Selena's life was scheduled to be aired on .


Selena's statue

Main article:

(English: Lookout of the Flower) also known as Selena's seawall, is Selena's own life-size in sculpted by and unveiled in 1997. About 30,000 people from around the world visit this monument every year.


Main articles: and

Solo studio albums


See also:

Biographical programming


See also


  1. Media outlets that called Selena the "Mexican American equivalent" of Madonna include ,,, and .
  2. According to a book written by Stacy Lee, she reported sales of 300,000 units, while wrote in her book that the album sold 385,000 units in Mexico.
  3. "Fotos y Recuerdos" peaked at number one posthumously in April 1995. "Amor Prohibido", "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", and "No Me Queda Mas" peaked at number one before Selena's death.
  4. Outlets describing Selena as "Queen of Tejano music" include: ,Billboard magazine,, magazine,, and The New York Times.
  5. Testimony given by nurse Carla Anthony at the Saldívar trial indicated that Saldívar and Selena's visit to her clinic occurred March 24, not March 31. The predominance of other sources indicate that Nurse Anthony is mistaken.


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