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This article is about the singer. For other uses, see Selena (disambiguation).
Selena Quintanilla-Pérez.jpg
Selena as photographed by Agree shampoo staff in 1995
Born Selena Quintanilla
(1971-04-16)April 16, 1971
Lake Jackson, Texas, U.S.
Died March 31, 1995(1995-03-31) (aged 23)
Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.
Cause of death
Gunshot wound
Resting place
Seaside Memorial Park
Corpus Christi, Texas
Monuments Mirador de la Flor
Nationality Mexican-American
Other names Selena Quintanilla-Pérez
  • Singer,
  • songwriter,
  • actress,
  • spokesperson,
  • fashion designer
Years active 1982 (1982)—1995 (1995)
Spouse(s) Chris Pérez (m. 199295) (her death)
Relatives Suzette Quintanilla (sister), A.B. Quintanilla III (brother)
Awards List of awards and nominations
Musical career
Associated acts Selena y Los Dinos, Pete Astudillo, Alvaro Torres, Barrio Boyzz, Emilio Navaira

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez (April 16, 1971 – March 31, 1995), known mononymously as Selena, was an American singer and songwriter. She 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.[1] Selena had the most successful Latin singles of 1994 and 1995, "Amor Prohibido" and "No Me Queda Más".[2] She was called "The Queen of Tejano music"[3] and the Mexican equivalent of Madonna.[4] Selena's first album, Selena y Los Dinos, was released when she was twelve years old. A few years after winning Female Vocalist of the Year at the 1987 Tejano Music Awards, she was signed to a recording contract with EMI. Her career and popularity grew throughout the early 1990s in the United States and Spanish-speaking countries. Her album, Selena Live! won Best Mexican-American Album at the 36th Grammy Awards in 1994.

Selena was murdered at the age of 23 on March 31, 1995 by Yolanda Saldívar, a staffer and president of Selena's fan club. On April 12, 1995, two weeks after her death, Texas governor George W. Bush declared her birthday "Selena Day" in that state.[5] In 1997, a Warner Bros. film based on her life titled Selena was released, starring Jennifer Lopez in the title role. As of 2012, Selena has sold over 60 million albums worldwide.[6]

Life and career

1971–88: Early life and career beginnings

Selena Quintanilla was born on April 16, 1971 in Lake Jackson, Texas.[7][8] She had Cherokee ancestry,[9] and was the younger child of Marcella Ofelia Samora and Abraham Quintanilla, Jr. a former Mexican American musician.[10] Selena was raised as a Jehovah's Witness.[11] Abraham noticed Selena's musical abilities when she was six years old. He told People magazine "Her timing, her pitch were perfect, I could see it from day one."[12] In 1980, Abraham opened his first Tex-Mex restaurant in Lake Jackson where Selena and her siblings—A.B. Quintanilla III on base and Suzette Quintanilla on drums, and Selena singing—would often perform.[12] The following year, the restaurant was forced to close after the recession due to the Texas oil bust of 1980. The family declared bankruptcy, and were evicted from their home.[12][13] They settled in Corpus Christi, Texas, while Quintanilla, Jr. began promoting the newly formed band Selena y Los Dinos as the band's manager.[12][14][15] They needed money and played wherever they could get a gig. They performed at street corners, weddings, quinceañeras and fairs.[12][16] Because the demands of her performance and travel schedule began to interfere with her education as her popularity as a singer grew, her father took her out of school when she was in the eighth grade.[17] At seventeen, Selena earned a high school diploma from The American School of Correspondence in Chicago,[18] and was also accepted at Louisiana State University.[19] However, Selena enrolled at Pacific Western University taking up business administration as her major.[20]

In 1984, Selena recorded her first LP record Selena y Los Dinos, for Freddie Records.[21] Selena recorded Tejano music compositions, despite her wishes on wanting to record English-language recordings. As a male-dominate genre,[22] Tejano music—a Spanish-language music genre popularized by Mexicans in the United States with German influences[23] of polka, jazz, and country music,[24] was coined by Quintanilla, Jr. who believed that Selena should record musical compositions of her heritage.[25] During the recording sessions for the album, Selena had to learn Spanish phonetically and with guidance from her father.[26] The album helped Selena to appear on the Johnny Canales Show, a popular Spanish-language music show in 1985, she would then continue to guest star for several years. Selena was discovered by Rick Trevi founder of the Tejano Music Awards where she won the Female Vocalist of the Year award in 1987 and eight consecutive years after that.[27] 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).[28]

1989–90: Self-titled album and relationship with Pérez

Jose Behar of newly formed label EMI Latin Records, together with the new head of Sony Music Latin, watched Selena perform at the 1989 Tejano Music Awards.[29] Behar was searching for new Latin acts and wanted to sign Selena to EMI's Capitol Records, while Sony Music Latin was offering twice Capitol's sum to Quintanilla, Jr.[29] Behar thought that he had discovered the "next Gloria Estefan" but his superior called Behar illogical since he had been in South Texas less than a week.[17][30] Quintanilla, Jr. chose EMI Latin's offer because of the potential for a crossover album, and becoming their first artist that signed with them.[31] Before Selena began recording for her debut album, Behar and Stephen Finfer requested a crossover album for Selena.[32] 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 that she needed a bigger fan base to sell such an album.[33] Behar thought that EMI Records and the public did not believe that a Mexican American woman could have "crossover potential".[30]

Selena released her self-titled debut album on October 17, 1989. Selena recorded most of the songs in San Antonio, Texas at AMEN Studios, while "Sukiyaki" and "My Love" were recorded in Houston, Texas at Sunrise Studios. Selena wrote "My Love", and wanted the song to be included on her first recording. Her brother, Quintanilla III became her principal record producer and songwriter for most of Selena's musical career.[34] The only tracks Quintanilla III did not write on her debut album were "Sukiyaki", "Contigo Quiero Estar", and "No Te Vayas". The former was an original 1960s Japanese recording by Kyu Sakamoto. The lyrics Selena used were a Spanish version of an English version of the song by Janice Marie Johnson.[35] The lead single, "Contigo Quiero Estar", peaked at number eight on the US Billboard Top Latin Songs chart, while the album peaked at number seven on the US Billboard Regional Mexican Albums chart,[36] becoming Selena's first single and album to debut on a national music chart.[37] Her self-titled recording performed better than albums from other female Tejano singers at the time.[37]

In the same year, Coca-Cola wanted Selena to become one of their spokespeople in Texas.[5] The jingle used in her first two commercials for the company were composed by Quintanilla III and Chris Pérez—who joined Selena y Los Dinos several months earlier as the band's new guitarist.[38] Pérez began having romantic feelings for Selena, despite having a girlfriend back at San Antonio.[39] After a Mexico trip with the band, Pérez thought it would be best for him and Selena if he tried to distance himself from her, but found it difficult and decided to try building a relationship with her.[40] They expressed their feelings for each other at a Pizza Hut restaurant, and shortly afterwards became a couple.[41][42] Pérez and Selena hid their relationship, fearing that Quintanilla, Jr. would try to break them up.[43][44]

1990–91: Ven Conmigo and the Selena fan club

Selena released her second studio album, Ven Conmigo in 1990. The album yielded Selena's first gold album by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting shipments of 50,000 copies. Ven Conmigo became the first album by a female Tejano singer to reach gold status in the United States.[45] The album produced three singles; "Ya Ves", "La Tracalera", and "Baila Esta Cumbia".[46] The latter, a Mexican cumbia song, became one of Selena's biggest hit singles. Its popularity grew in Mexico where a compilation album bearing the single's name was released there, the recording was certified platinum by the Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas (AMPROFON), denoting sales of 150,000 units.[47][48]

A registered nurse and fan named Yolanda Saldívar asked Quintanilla, Jr. to start a fan club in San Antonio.[49] 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.[50] That same year, Salvadoran singer Álvaro Torres composed a duet he wanted to record with Selena.[29] The song "Buenos Amigos" was produced by Enrique Elizondo and was released on Torres' tenth studio album Nada Se Compara Contigo (1991).[51] The recording peaked at number one on the US Billboard Top Latin Songs chart, giving Selena her first number one single. The music video for "Buenos Amigos" earned Selena and Torres two nominations at the 1992 Billboard Music Awards.[52] The track was nominated for Duo of the Year at the 1992 Tejano Music Awards.[53] Deborah Parédez wrote in her book Selenidad, that the track enabled Selena to tour the west and east coasts of the United States.[54] According to John Lannert of Billboard magazine, the song was helped by increased airplay on regional Mexican and Tejano radio stations, which had previously dismissed Selena's recordings.[55]

1992–93: Elopement, Entre a Mi Mundo, and Grammy win

Selena's sister Suzette, found Selena and Pérez flirting with each other and immediately informed their father.[56] Quintanilla, Jr. took Pérez off the bus and told him that his and Selena's relationship was over.[57] Selena and Pérez continued their relationship despite Quintanilla, Jr's disapproval;[58][59] Selena's mother, Marcella, approved of their relationship.[60] Quintanilla, Jr. spotted Selena and Pérez romantically together on the bus, he pulled over and an argument between him and Selena ensued. He called Pérez a "cancer in my family", and threatened to disband the group if they continued their relationship.[61] Selena and Pérez relented; Quintanilla, Jr. fired him from the band, and prevented Selena from running off with him.[62] After Pérez was fired from the band he and Selena secretly continued their relationship. On the morning of April 2, 1992, Selena and Pérez decided to elope, believing that Quintanilla, Jr. would never approve of their relationship.[61][63] Selena believed that Quintanilla, Jr. would leave her and Pérez alone if they were married, and they would not have to hide their feelings for each other. Within hours of their marriage, the media announced Selena and Pérez' elopement.[64] Selena's family tried to track her down; Quintanilla, Jr. did not take the news well, and alienated himself for some time.[64] Selena and Pérez moved into an apartment together in Corpus Christi.[65] Quintanilla, Jr. approached Pérez, apologized, accepted the marriage and took Pérez back into the band.[66]

A month after her elopement, Selena released her third studio album, Entre a Mi Mundo, in May 1992. The album was critically acclaim for being a "breakthrough album" for Selena.[67][68][69] The recording peaked at number one on the US Billboard Regional Mexican Albums chart for eight consecutive months,[70] it was certified 6x Platinum by the RIAA for shipments of 600,000 copies.[71] In Mexico, the recording was certified gold for sales of 300,000 units.[a][74] Entre a Mi Mundo became the first Tejano album by a female artist to sell over 300,000 copies.[72] Selena outsold male Tejano singers with her album, according to editors of the Miami Herald and the San Jose Mercury News.[75][76] The album produced four singles; "Como La Flor", "¿Qué Creías?", "La Carcacha", and "Amame". The lead single, "Como La Flor", became Selena's signature recording and was critically acclaim by music critics as being a career launcher for Selena.[77] "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.[78] The track was nominated for Song of the Year at the 1993 Tejano Music Awards.[79] The single peaked at number six on the US Billboard Top Latin Songs chart.[80]

Selena released Live! in 1993, it was recorded during a free concert at the Memorial Coliseum in Corpus Christi, on February 7, 1993.[81] The recording included previously released tracks which were sung live and three studio recordings; "No Debes Jugar", "La Llamada", and a duet with Tejano musician Emilio Navaira on "Tú Robaste Mi Corazón". The recordings "No Debes Jugar" and "La Llamada" peaked within the top five on the US Billboard Top Latin Songs chart.[82][83] Live! won the Grammy Award for Best Mexican/American Album at the 36th Grammy Awards.[72] In May 1994, Live! was named Album of the Year by the Billboard Latin Music Awards.[84] At the 1994 Tejano Music Awards, Live! won Album of the Year,[85] while at the 1994 Lo Nuestro Awards it was nominated for Regional Mexican Album of the Year.[86] Live! was certified gold by the RIAA for shipments of 500,000 copies, while in Mexico it sold 250,000 units.[87] Selena briefly played opposite Erik Estrada in a Mexican telenovela titled Dos Mujeres, Un Camino.[49] In 1995 she entered negotiations to star in another telenovela produced by Emilio Larrosa.[49] She appeared in two episodes which achieved a record rating for the series.[49]

1994–95: Fashion venture, film debut, and Amor Prohibido

Aside from music, Selena began designing and manufacturing a clothing line in 1994 and opened two boutiques called Selena Etc., one in Corpus Christi and the other in San Antonio. Both were equipped with in-house beauty salons.[88] Saldivar served as the manager for both boutiques after the Quintanilla family were impressed with the way she managed the fan club.[89] Hispanic Business magazine reported that the singer earned over five million dollars from these boutiques.[90] Selena released her fourth studio album, Amor Prohibido, in March 1994. The recording debuted at number three on the US Billboard Top Latin Albums[91] and number one on the US Billboard Regional Mexican Albums charts.[92] Amor Prohibido became the second Tejano album to reach year-end sales of 500,000 copies, which previously only been accomplished by La Mafia,[93][94] and became one of the best-selling Latin albums in the United States.[95][96] The album spawned five number one singles; the title track, "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", "No Me Queda Mas", "Techno Cumbia", and "Fotos Y Recuerdos",[b] becoming the first Hispanic artist to do so.[98][99] The album was certified double Platinum by the RIAA for shipments of two million copies in the United States.[100] Amor Prohibido was among the best selling US albums of 1995.[101] The album's success helped Tejano music to become accessible to a younger and wider audience than at any other time in its history,[102] and was believed to have "opened the doors" to other Latin artists,[94] such as Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera,[103] Iglesias, and Ricky Martin.[104] The two singles, "No Me Queda Más" and the title track were the most successful US Latin singles of 1994 and 1995, respectively, according to Billboard magazine.[2][105] The album's commercial success led Amor Prohibido a Grammy nomination for Best Mexican/American Album at the 37th Grammy Awards in 1995.[106] It won Record of the Year at the 1995 Tejano Music Awards[85] and Regional/Mexican Album of the Year at the 1995 Lo Nuestro Awards.[99]

After Amor Prohibido '​s release Selena was considered "bigger than Tejano itself", and broke barriers in the Latin music world.[107] She was called the "Queen of Tejano music" by many media outlets.[c] Sales of the album and its titular single represented Tejano music's first commercial success in Puerto Rico.[107] Selena recorded a duet with the Barrio Boyzz entitled "Donde Quiera Que Estes", released on their album of the same name in 1994. The song got to number one on the Top Latin Songs chart,[114] which enabled Selena to tour in New York City, Argentina, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Central America, where she was not well known.[115][116] In late 1994, EMI chairman Charles Koppelman felt that Selena had succeed her goals in the Spanish-speaking market. He wanted to propel Selena as an English-language American solo pop artist. Selena continued touring while EMI began preparing the crossover album with Grammy Award winning composers.[117] By the time Selena performed to a record-breaking sold out concert at the Houston Astrodome in February 1995, work had already begun on her crossover album.[117] In 1995, Selena made a cameo appearance in Don Juan DeMarco, which starred Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp and Faye Dunaway.[118]


During her childhood Selena helped organizations such as Toys for Tots.[119] Selena was active in the Latino community in the United States.[120] She visited local schools to talk to students about the importance of education.[120] She attended and educated a gathering of two-hundred high school students in Fulmore Junior High School in Austin, about positive attitudes and setting life-goals for achievements in their adult life.[119] Selena urged children to stay in school throughout her talk sessions in school districts in Texas, she also told children that alcohol and drugs will led them no where in life.[121] She spent her free time helping her community. Selena performed in Washington D.C. to celebrate the forming of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.[120] Following the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, Selena helped victims in Florida by performing at a Houston benefit concert.[120][115]

In August 1994, Selena hosted a charity baseball game to raise money for unspecified charities.[122] She also donated her time to civic organizations such as D.A.R.E. and planned a fund raising concert to help AIDS patients.[20] 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.[20] Her pro-education videos included "My Music" and "Selena Agrees". She was in the works for a Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas Boys & Girls Clubs of America benefit concert.[20]

In January 1995, Selena headlined the Teach the Children festival in the Mercado in San Antonio. The concert funded a non-profit program to provide school supplies to needy children.[115] Selena was a spokesperson for battered woman who were in a abusive relationship.[123] She also helped out at homeless shelters for children and adults.[115] According to the A&E television series Biography, Selena's fans were minorities in the world and encouraged them to be the best they can be.[124] Her biggest fear was that no one would come watch her perform at her concerts.[125]


Main article: Murder of Selena

The Quintanilla family named Saldivar the manager of Selena's boutiques in early 1994.[50] Eight months later, Selena signed Saldívar as her registered agent in San Antonio, Texas. After the agreement, Saldivar moved from San Antonio to Corpus Christi to be closer to Selena.[89] In December 1994, the boutiques began to suffer after the number of staff for both stores decreased.[126] According to staff members, Saldivar largely fired anyone she personally did not like.[127] Staff members at the store constantly complained about Saldivar's behavior to Selena who dismissed the claims, believing that her "friend" wouldn't negatively impose on her fashion venture.[127] According to Quintanilla, Jr. the staff then turned their attention to him and began informing him about Saldivar. Quintanilla, Jr. took the claims serious and informed Selena to "be careful" and that Saldivar may not be a good influence.[127] She dismissed her father's inquires since he had always distrusted people in the past.[127] By January 1995, claims from Selena's cousin, her fashion designer Martin Gomez, and clients, expressed their concerns over Saldivar's behavior and management skills.[127][128] During an interview with Saldívar in 1995, reporters from The Dallas Morning News believed that Saldívar's devotion to Selena bordered on obsession.[89]

According to Quintanilla, Jr. it wasn't until January when he began receiving phone calls from fans who reportedly paid their membership for the Selena fan club and received nothing, that he began an investigation.[129] Upon investigation, Quintanilla, Jr. discovered that Saldívar was embezzling more than $60,000 in forged checks from both the fan club and the boutiques.[129] Quintanilla, Jr. held a closed meeting the night of March 9 with Selena and Suzette, at Q-Productions to confront Saldívar. Quintanilla, Jr. presented Saldívar with the inconsistencies concerning the disappearing funds. He reported that Saldívar simply stared at him without answering any of his questions.[129] Quintanilla, Jr. told Saldívar that if she didn't come up with evidence that disproved his accusations, then he was going to get the police involved. Still, without saying a word, Saldívar abruptly got up and left the meeting.[129] Quintanilla, Jr. banned Saldivar from having any contact with Selena.[129] However, Selena did not want to dissolve their friendship; she felt that Saldívar was essential to whether the clothing line would take off in Mexico. Selena also wanted to keep Saldívar close because she had bank records, statements and financial records necessary for tax preparation.[129]

On the morning of March 31, 1995, Selena met up with Saldivar at her Days Inn motel room in Corpus Christi.[14] At the motel, Selena demanded the financial papers; Saldívar delayed the handover by claiming she had been raped in Mexico.[17] The singer then drove Saldívar to Doctors Regional Hospital where doctors found no evidence of rape.[130] At 11:48 am, Saldívar drew the gun from her purse[131] and pointed it at Selena.[132] As Selena attempted to flee, Saldívar shot her once on the right lower shoulder, severing an artery and resulting in a massive loss of blood.[132] Critically wounded, Selena ran towards the lobby, leaving a trail of blood 392 feet (119 m) long.[132] She collapsed on the floor as the clerk called 9-1-1, with Saldívar still chasing after her and calling her a "bitch".[133] Before collapsing, she named Saldívar as her assailant and gave the number of the room where she had been shot.[134] An ambulance arrived at the scene and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation to keep her blood circulating. Meanwhile, Saldívar got into her pickup truck and attempted to leave the motel. However, she was spotted by a responding police cruiser.[132] An officer emerged from the cruiser, drew his gun and ordered Saldívar to come out of the truck. She backed up and parked adjacent to two cars, with her truck then being blocked in by the police cruiser. Saldívar then picked up the pistol, pointed it at her right temple, and threatened to commit suicide. A SWAT team and the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit were brought in.[132]

During this time, a paramedic tried inserting an IV needle into Selena, but due to the massive blood loss and low (or no) blood pressure, her veins had collapsed making the insertion extremely difficult.[132] At 12:00 pm, paramedics delivered Selena to Corpus Christi Memorial Hospital. She was transferred to the trauma room where doctors and surgeons began blood transfusions, despite her religious beliefs, in an attempt to reestablish blood circulation after opening Selena's chest and finding massive internal bleeding. Since the bullet had pierced an artery, after 50 minutes the doctors realized that the damage was irreparable. Selena was pronounced dead at 1:05 pm from blood loss and cardiac arrest.[132][135] Saldívar surrendered after nearly nine-and-a-half hours of a standoff between police and the FBI.[14] By that time, hundreds of fans had gathered at the scene; many wept as police took Saldívar away.[14][132]


Selena's murder had a widespread impact. Major networks interrupted their regular programming to break the news; Tom Brokaw referred to Selena as "The Mexican Madonna".[136] It was front page news on The New York Times for two days after her death.[137] Numerous vigils and memorials were held in her honor, and radio stations in Texas played her music non-stop.[17] Her funeral drew 60,000 mourners, many of whom traveled from outside the United States.[17] The news struck the Hispanic community extremely hard; many traveled thousands of miles to Selena's house, boutiques and the crime scene.[138][139] By mid-afternoon, police were asked to form a detour as a line of automobiles began backing up traffic from the Quintanillas' houses.[140] Among the celebrities who were reported to have contact the Quintanilla family to express their condolences were Gloria Estefan, Celia Cruz, Julio Iglesias, and Madonna.[141] American singer Stefanie Ridel called KXTN-FM in tears, lamenting the loss.[142] A People magazine issue was released several days after her murder. Its publishers believed that interest would soon wane; they released a commemorative issue within a week when it became apparent that it was growing. The issue sold nearly a million copies,[143] selling the entire first and second run within two weeks. It became a collector's item, a first in the history of People.[124] Betty Cortina, editor of People, told Biography that they never had an issue that was completely sold out; "it was unheard of".[124] In the following months the company released People en Español (aimed at the Hispanic market), due to the success of the Selena issue.[124]

A few days later, Howard Stern mocked Selena's murder and burial, poked fun at her mourners, and criticized her music. Stern said, "This music does absolutely nothing for me. Alvin and the Chipmunks 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.[144] After a disorderly conduct arrest warrant was issued in his name, Stern made an on-air statement, in Spanish, for his comments that he stressed were not made to cause "more anguish to her family, friends and those who loved her."[145][146] The League of United Latin American Citizens boycotted Stern's show, finding his apology unacceptable.[147] Within a week, on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Stern and Robin Quivers (his African-American co-host) were asked if Stern's remarks about Selena were acceptable. Quivers decided not to talk about the situation, to avoid arguing with Stern. When Linda Ronstadt (a pop singer of Mexican-American heritage) appeared on the show, she and Quivers quickly got into an argument when Ronstadt defended Selena.[148]

On April 12, 1995, two weeks after her death, George W. Bush (governor of Texas at the time) declared her birthday Selena Day in Texas.[5][149][150] Some European Americans in Texas wrote to the editor of the Brazosport Facts during April and May, asking what the big deal was; some were also offended that Selena Day fell on Easter Sunday. Others agreed that "Easter is more important than Selena Day", and believed that everyone should let Selena rest in peace and go on with their lives.[151] Mexican Americans in Texas wrote vociferously to the newspaper. Some agreed that others were too critical of Selena Day, and stated that they didn't need to celebrate the day and should not have responded so rudely.[152] In October 1995, a Houston jury convicted Saldívar of first degree murder and sentenced her to life in prison, with the possibility of parole in 2025.[153][154] Under a judge's order, the gun used to kill Selena was destroyed in 2002, and the pieces thrown into Corpus Christi Bay.[155][156] However, fans and historians disproved of the decision to destroy the gun citing that the event was historical and the gun should have been in a museum.[20]

Legacy and influence

Selena has been credited for helping redefine Latin music and its sub-genres of Tejano,[157] Cumbia, and Latin pop.[158][159] She was considered "one of the most significant Mexican American singers of the end of the twentieth century."[160] Selena's popularity were drawn in by the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community and minority groups of the United States.[161] Selena was called the "Queen of Tejano music", described as "the most important and popular Tejano star of all time."[162] Selena was among the 100 entertainers chosen for Dr. Robert C. Sickels' book 100 Entertainers Who Changed America (2013).[163] Deborah R. Vargas wrote in her book Dissonant Divas in Chicana Music: The Limits of la Onda (2008), that Selena reconstructed Tejano music with the additions of Cumbia music, giving credit to "Baila Esta Cumbia" as an example of Selena's blended musical compositions.[158] In his book Latin Sensations, Herón Márquez said the commercial success of "Buenos Amigos" helped Selena become a household name among Latinos in the United States.[164] Selena is one of the most widely known Mexican-American vocal artists[165][166] and the most popular Latin artist in the United States.[167][166]

Selena's crossover album that she was working on at the time of her death, Dreaming of You, was released posthumously in July 1995. The recording sold 175,000 copies its day of release in the U.S.—a then-record for a female vocalist—and sold 331,000 copies its first week.[168][169] Selena became the third female artist in history to sell over 300,000 units in one week, after Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey.[170] It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, becoming the first album by a Hispanic artist to do so.[171][172][173] Dreaming of You helped Selena to become the first solo artist to debut a posthumous album at number one.[174] It also became the first EMI Latin recording to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 chart.[174] The recording was among the top ten best-selling debuts for a musician, and was the best-selling debut by a female act.[175] In July 1995, 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 accomplish this feat.[176] The album was certified 35x platinum by the RIAA, for shipping more than 3.5 million copies in the U.S. alone.[177][178] Dreaming of You became the second-fastest-selling album by a female artist, behind Janet Jackson's janet. (1993) which had sold 350,000 copies its first week of availability.[168][179][180] As of 2010, the recording had sold four million copies in the U.S., becoming the best-selling Latin album in the United States.[181] Joey Guerra of the Houston Chronicle commented in 2008 that its lead single, "I Could Fall in Love", had "made the Tejano goddess a posthumous crossover star".[182] In 2010, Teresa Jusino of Popmatters expressed the view that English-speaking music fans no longer remember Selena's name, saying that on playing "Dreaming of You" or "I Could Fall in Love", many would say "I remember that song!" or "I love that one!".[183]

Selena was inducted into the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame in 1995. In the same year, the United States Social Security Administration ranked the name Selena one of the 100 most popular names for newborn girls.[184] 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.[1] Selena was named "Best Female Vocalist of the '80s" and "Best Female Vocalist of the '90s" at the 2010 Tejano Music Awards, while her single "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" was named "Best 1990s Song". According to the New York Daily News and the Lawrence Journal-World, both believed that if Selena had lived she would have surpassed the record sales of Madonna, Gloria Estefan, Paula Abdul[185] and Whitney Houston.[186] The Guinness Book of World Records named her as the "most dominating artist" in their annual 1999 reference book.[187]



Year Title Role Notes
1985–1994 Johnny Canales Show Herself
1987–1995 Tejano Music Awards Herself
1993 Dos mujeres, un camino Herself
1995 Don Juan DeMarco Ranchera singer Minor role
Films and television programs about her life and death
Year Title Notes
1996 E! True Hollywood Story "The Murder Trial of Selena"
1997 Selena Biographical film
1998 Behind The Music "Selena"
1999 VH1: All Access "Selena"
2005 Selena ¡VIVE! Concert special
2008 Biography "Selena"
2010 Famous Crime Scene: Selena Episode 105
2012 Reel Crime/Real Story: Selena Premiere episode
2014 Selena: Death Of A Superstar Season 13 episode 15 of Snapped


  • Ven Conmigo Live Tour (1990–1992)
  • Entre A Mi Mundo Tour (1992–1993)
  • Selena Live! Tour (1993–1994)
  • Amor Prohibido Tour (1994–1995)

See also


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  • Caller-Times (April 16, 1997). "Birthday hoopla is prohibited". Corpus Christi, Texas: 
  • Mitchell, Rick (May 21, 1995). "Selena". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on July 9, 2007. 
  • New York Times (April 1, 1995). "Grammy Winning Singer Selena Killed in Shooting at Texas Motel". p. 1. 
  • Patoski, Joe Nick (1996). Selena: Como La Flor. Boston: Little Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-69378-2. 


  1. ^ According to a book written by Stacy Lee, she reports sales of 300,000 units,[72] while Maria Celeste Arraras wrote in her book that the album sold 385,000 units in Mexico.[73]
  2. ^ "Fotos Y Recuerdos" peaked at number one posthumously in April 1995.[97]
  3. ^ Outlets describing Selena as "Queen of Tejano music" includes: Entertainment Weekly,[108] Billboard magazine,[109] Los Angeles Magazine,[110] Vibe magazine,[111] The Huffington Post,[112] and The New York Times.[113]

External links