The Pioneer

Selena Day carries on legacy

Photo courtesy of HellBoy_93 via Flickr

Photo courtesy of HellBoy_93 via Flickr

Joana Arambula,
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Selena Quintanilla, also known as the “Queen of Tejano Music” has inspired me and many other women. Growing up

Quintanilla died two years before I was born, and I didn’t know much about her till the age of ten. I never knew why people made such a big deal about her, or why my sister was sad around the date when she died. I quickly learned that for many, she was a public figure to look up to.

She made her debut in the 80’s and became an award-winning recording artist in the Latin music scene. She is the first Tejano Artist to win a Grammy and one of the first Latin artists to cross over to English music. This moth, Quintanilla got a star on the Hollywood walk of fame.

Selena’s family gathered for the dedication ceremony, also other artists participated in a tribute show, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the date as “Selena Day.”

Quintanilla’s career was not always easy nor successful. She was often criticized and was refused bookings at venues across Texas for performing Tejano music because it was a male-dominated music genre.

Selena was active in her community and donated her time to civic causes. She became a sex icon, but was criticized for wearing provocative outfits while performing. But she didn’t let that stop her.  It has been 22 years and her legacy has not died.  She influenced many young women to become better and be the best that they can be. Whether it was from her music, her style, or just the way she presented herself.

Quintanilla was born April 16, 1971 in Lake Jackson, Texas. She was the lead singer to her family’s band Selena y Los Dinos, which started playing Tejano (Texan-Mexican) in weddings and clubs in their home town. Their dad Abraham Quintanilla managed and produced their music. Growing up, Quintanilla only knew English but her dad taught her Spanish so she could better connect with the Latin community.

Quintanilla’s influence extends into mainstream culture. “Growing up in Texas, I heard her on the radio,” Beyoncé said in an MTV Tres interview. “I think listening to her album, even though I didn’t know exactly what she was saying, it helped me in the studio with my pronunciation. I think she is a legend. I admire her. She was so talented.”

Selena impacted many people and if she were still alive she would have made a bigger difference. She would have changed the music industry.

Quintanilla became popular with Tejano music fans, and at one of the Latin music awards she won both “Best Female Vocalist of the Year” and “Performer of the Year.” Her album Ven Conmigo, was her first Tejano record to achieve gold record status, it sold more than 500,000 copies. Before her murder she was recording her English-language album putting her on the top of the U.S. pop music charts, making it her first cross over album.

Quintanilla died on March 31, 1995, after being shot by Yolanda Saldivar, the founder of the Selena fan club. Saldivar was managing Quintanilla’s boutique in San Antonio, and was about to be fired for embezzling money. Selena’s murder sent shockwaves through the Latino community, and her fans around the world mourned the singer’s passing. Since her death, Selena’s life story had been made into the film, Selena.

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