The Links

Selena Radio

About Selena

It is not an everyday occurrence that an individual is born who is destined to touch the lives of millions. But, on April 16, 1971, in Lake Jackson, Texas, such an individual was born. Her name was SELENA. The youngest of three children born to Abraham and Marcella Quintanilla, Selena and her family eventually moved to Corpus Christi. By 1980, at the early age of nine, Selena had already begun working alongside her family, taking her place as the lead singer of the their band, Selena Y Los Dinos. More than a weekend hobby, the band became the family's livelihood. With her brother A.B. on bass and her sister Suzette on drums, the young group, managed by their father, toured the state of Texas performing for weddings and small clubs. Initially thrust into the music industry out of necessity, Selena and her family focused their energies into making their dreams come true. Recognized for their talent and lively stage performances, Selena Y Los Dinos signed with EMI Latin, and in just a few short years the group had expanded and become one of the Tejano industry's most sought after acts. Known for her powerful voice, sexy dance moves, and unique costume designs, Selena Quintanilla was the No. 1 female Latino star in the United States and Mexico before her untimely death on March 31, 1995, in Corpus Christi, Texas.
By April 1995, Selena became the first recording artist to place five Spanish-language albums simultaneously on the Billboard 200. Her Grammy-nominated 1994 release AMOR PROHIBIDO went platinum, as did her 1993 Grammy Award winning album SELENA LIVE! and her 1992 album ENTRE A MI MUNDO. It quickly became evident that Selena and her music had reached far more people than anyone could have imagined. The New York Times praised Selena as a "young artist with unlimited possibilities." And, according to TIME magazine, Selena "was the embodiment of young, smart, hip Mexican-American youth - wearing midriff-baring bustiers and boasting a tight-knit family and a down-to-earth personality, a Madonna without the controversy." At the time of her death, Selena was in the process of realizing one of her biggest dreams, crossing over into the English-speaking market. She had already recorded four English-language tracks that were to be included on her EMI Records premiere later that year. Dubbed by her fans as the "Queen of Tejano" many of Selena's hits were, and are still, rotated heavily on radio stations of every format. Although Selena's prospects for stardom in the English-speaking music world have been much debated since her death, the posthumous release of the album DREAMING OF YOU gave a clear indication that Selena was, in fact, on her way to becoming a star in the English market as well. Since her passing, Selena's life has inspired a hit movie, a Broadway bound musical, and a successful clothing line. So deeply felt by the Hispanic community was the tragedy of her death, that People magazine's commemorative issue of Selena, which sold a record number of copies, ultimately spurred the creation of the now-popular magazine People En Espanol.
Today, Selena's music continues to top Latin and pop charts throughout the world, and many of her records still stand unbroken. Selena currently holds the #1, #2, and #6 position for the highest attendance records at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, held each year in the Houston Astrodome. And recently, Billboard Magazine declared Selena the "Latin Artist of the Decade." What Selena accomplished by the age of 23, others could spend a lifetime trying to achieve. For that, one cannot help but feel respect and admiration for this Corpus Christi role model that inspired and represented the hopes and dreams of millions of followers who collectively identified with her. And so Selena's legacy lives on, in our cherished memories and in everyone that has been touched by her music.
March 31st, 1995
In early 1995, the Quintanillas discovered that Selena’s fan club president and manager of her boutiques, Yolanda Saldivar, was embezzling money from the fan club. They decided to fire her. Money also started to turn up missing from the Selena Etc. account.
On the morning of March 31st, 1995 Selena agreed to meet Saldivar at the Corpus Christi Days Inn. Selena was hoping to retrieve some paperwork that was necessary for tax purposes. Saldivar told Selena she had been raped the night before. So Selena drove her to the hospital where doctors found no evidence of rape.
Once they got back to the motel, Selena soon realized she could not longer trust Saldivar and an argument ensued. At 11:48 am, Saldivar drew a gun from her purse and, as Selena turned to run from the room, Saldivar shot her in the back. Selena ran to the lobby and collapsed on the floor. Before she passed out she identified Saldivar as the person who shot her.
Selena was rushed to the local hospital where she was pronounced dead at 1:05 pm. She was 23. She was two days away from her third wedding anniversary and 17 days shy of her 24th birthday.
In October of 1995, Saldivar was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison – with no eligibility of parole for 30 years.
The Aftermath
Selena’s death devastated the Latin community. Plus it shocked and saddened non-Latinos who had come to love her.
Her funeral drew 60,000 people. Celebrities such as Gloria Estefan, Julio Iglesias and Madonna expressed their condolences to the Quintanilla family.
People magazine published a commemorative issue in tribute to Selena called Selena - Her Life in Pictures. It quickly sold out. (Its popularity led to People’s decision to publish People en Español (People in Spanish).
In the summer of 1995, the album Dreaming Of You was released. Dreaming Of You was a combination of Spanish songs and the four English songs that Selena hard recorded for her planned English album. It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200. She was the first Latin artist to do so. Songs like I Could Fall In Love and Dreaming Of You were widely played on mainstream English radio.
On March 27th 1997 the movie Selena was released. It was directed by Gregory Nava and starred Jennifer Lopez as Selena. It continues to be popular and has helped make a whole new generation of fans aware of who Selena was and what she accomplished in her life.
April 7th 2005, at tribute concert to Selena was held in Houston’s Reliant Stadium. The event was called Selena Vive (Selena Lives). Over 65,000 fans attended. It featured stars like Gloria Estefan, Soraya, Thalia, Paulina Rubio, Fey and many other powerhouse Latin performers.
The concert ended with all the performers (and the crowd) singing along with Selena’s 1995 Houston Astrodome performance of Como La Flor. Selena Vive became the highest-rated and most viewed Spanish language show in American Television history. It scored at 35.9 Nielson rating.
Selena’s Community Involvement
Selena felt it was important to find time to encourage children and young adults to stay in school. She spoke many times in schools about the importance of getting a High School diploma and achieving your goals. Selena loved to go to public middle schools and high schools to talk to the kids about the importance of staying in school, avoiding drugs and alcohol, remaining chaste and pursuing goals.
In 1993, Selena gave a free concert for Texas students who drastically improved on their grades, and donated $2,500 to School Programs.
She did a public service video for schools entitled Mi Musica, which was sponsored by Agree Shampoo. In the video, Selena spoke about Mexican music in America, but left them an important message that staying in school and graduating high school is the most important thing that they will do in their life. (To view it click here and select "Mi Musica - Mexican American Music of Today" under "Selena Video Clips".)
Selena was a spokesperson for the D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program to keep kids off drugs and a Battered Women’s Help Hotline. It’s been said that when Selena's commercial for the help hotline aired, the phone lines would light up.
Selena also participated at many Stay In School Jamborees, her last being in March of 1995, just two weeks before her death. She expressed her excitement at the turnout, "It shows that kids want to do something good for themselves..." She was also in the process of organizing a benefit concert for The Boys and Girls Clubs located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Her Community Service was honored on April 8, 1994 when the mayor of Houston proclaimed that day "Selena Quintanilla Day".
Selena was definitely not a normal artist, who was only preoccupied with her success. She really cared for people and that's why people cared so much for her.
Selena’s Legacy of Positivity and Kindness
To this day, Selena continues to be a huge presence in the lives of her fans (many who weren’t even born when she passed).
She’s become a cultural icon. Someone who was proud of her roots who worked hard and achieved her goals. She was nice to everyone she met regardless of their station in life. And, of course, she also made great music.
For all these reasons (and many more) she has become a role model to millions of people around the world.
In 2005 her father said this about Selena’s endearing appeal:
“Her fans viewed her as a positive, humble person and I've always believed that in Selena's case it was not just the music but the person who made an impact.”
Musical artists come and go, but Selena was and will always be someone very special. People identify with her story. They appreciate and respect who she was as a person. EMI President Jose Behar reflected on Selena shortly after her passing…
“When I think of Selena nowadays, what comes to mind is not her musical career, even though it was enormously successful and remains so more than two months after her death. Rather, I think about how much I miss this special person, who was so caring, so warm. I am convinced if she had lived Selena would have been a major, major star in the Anglo record world.
As it turns out, Selena left us with an enduring legacy immeasurably more valuable than hit records and sold out concerts. She heightened our awareness of what really counts: Love and respect for one another.”
In the Selena Vive program, Los Dinos’ member Ricky Vela said this of Selena…
“I wish I could tell people how wonderful you were, but I don't know how to share all the many kindnesses that you showed me.“
Ricky’s comment sums up perfectly why Selena will always live in the hearts of her fans. We should all live our lives in hopes of being worthy of a compliment like Ricky gave to Selena.
It’s a simple message really: be kind to others…
Whether it’s the person behind the counter taking your fast food order, someone you work with, your mother, your father, someone down on their luck, an old friend you bump into on the street, your brother, your sister, a new friend…no matter who it is… kind, smile and put a smile on their face.
And wherever she may be, you’ll know Selena is smiling with you.