Selena or Selena Quintanilla for those who aren’t familiar with her, was the first singer I looked up to. I admired her because not only was she a great singer and dancer but she was Mexican American. She spoke Spanish but her first language was English. She loved all music and loved animals. Her laugh was loud and real. I could relate with her. She died tragically 23 years ago today.

Her music was beautiful, fun, strong, caring, fierce, sweet and soft. It didn’t matter what she sang. She put her all into each song. The songs that stand out are the ones where she’s calling out men when they cheat or acting like dogs. I saw too many women being weak growing up. Women forgave or turned the other cheek when their spouse or boyfriend pulled some crap on them. Selena was the first in song to stand up for herself. In La Llamada, she catches her boyfriend cheating on her and doesn’t give him the time of day afterward. He calls her to ask for forgiveness and she aint having it. In Si Una Ves, Selena talks about leaving a man who took her for granted. In Cobarde, she is calling the man out for being a coward. One of my favorites is Que Qreias where she openly tells the guy to leave because he’s betrayed her and she’s not going to forgive him. She reminds the guy in the song that he won’t find someone like her.

Not all her songs are like the ones I mentioned but you get my point. She was strong in life and in music. She gave strength to women everywhere. She was a role model when few want to step up, she did. And she was a great role model. She encouraged self worth, confidence and inner beauty. She encouraged positivity and laughter. She was an animal lover. I can go on and on about this woman. I love you, Selena. Thank you for your music, thank your for your joyous laugh and the strength you showed me through song. You let me know it was right to stand up for myself and not let a man walk all over me. RIP.

Selena is someone that you grew up hearing. Whether you’re an American or Mexican. One or two of her songs would always play during parties and if you grew up in the 90s (like I did), you grew up watching the movie. Sadly, she passed away way too young, but she was still a huge part of my childhood.

To say that her music was incredible is a huge understatement. There was emotion behind every song she sang and you could feel that she had a passion for what she did (and to her fans) from any of her performances. One of my favorite songs by her Si Una Vez. Even if you don’t understand squat of what the lyrics are telling her, you’re still able to hear the anger and regret behind her tone. Look up the lyrics! But it’s not only that ONE song. It’s all of her women empowerment songs that she has. It’s all about not needing a man or to leave them behind once they do anything to hurt you.

Even if you didn’t grow up seeing her live, you’re still able to capture how much of a happy person she was. How infectious her laughter was. That’s why today is very important to listen to her songs, watch some of her interviews, or watch her live so we could keep Selena alive. Anything for Selenaaaaaas. Two guesses which movie that’s from!


“A Look Back: Selena”

Unknowingly, Selena opened my mind to other genres. She was one of the few who incorporated pop, rock, R&B, Tejano, Cumbia, Mariachi onto her music and she made it work—she was a natural at it. While she may have been described as the Madonna of Latin America, I believe she was more accurately like Michael Jackson—minus the songwriting skills that he possessed. She had the gift of blending different things together and making them radio ear candy. She had the chops (unlike Madonna) to sing her heart out on stage, just as she did on her recorded tracks. She didn’t have the unbelievable dance moves Michael Jackson had, but was one the rarest artists who could dance and sing live at the same time. Very few have mastered that talent. And like the King of Pop, Selena could easily entertain by what she did on stage. It’s not just about singing and dancing, but also about bringing in the crowd and making them excited. She hardly took breaks in concerts. She went straight for about two hours, with almost no water breaks, no going backstage to change—she remained on stage for the entire show. I believe her musicians would take over for about a minute to allow her voice to rest, but that was only a few times during her performances.
I didn’t know her personally, and I do my best to believe that what someone lets out in front of a screen isn’t always the truth—there’s always something being kept secret. But as a child, and even now as an adult, I believe Selena had a happy life. I believe she did what she wanted to do because she was genuinely in love with it. She loved fashion—she started a clothing line. She loved people—she started a non-profit organization. She loved singing—she stayed on stage for every minute her shows were on. Her smile was genuine—her happiness seemed genuine.
I can understand that it was difficult for those who truly knew her to let go of her after she passed. However, as hard as it might be, in order to achieve happiness, one must. As a fan, I still love listening to her. As a fan, I still enjoy dancing around to her music. As a fan, I still go back to old clips and watch her interviews and shows. But as soon as I start to think, “What if…?” I make myself stop. It’s unhealthy to go into the realm of possibilities and ‘what ifs’. It’s not facing the facts and life. It’s fine to look back and enjoy the joys of the past, but we have to look forward to other things.

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