It’s been 20 years since the untimely, tragic death of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, but we’re still obsessed with her as ever.
From a vigil in San Antonio to commemorate the anniversary to a musical event called Fiesta de la Flor in her hometown and countless shout-outs by the media, tributes have been everywhere. Just last week her family announced that a new project called Selena the One would be taking the digital human essence of her, or a hologram, on tour in 2018.
So today, the day she would have turned 44 years old, we ask: What was it about her that charmed audiences forever? Why has no one come close to comparing to her?
For starters it could be her sheer talent, endearing vulnerability, and tenacity to become a “crossover” star. But there’s more to it. In honor of this unforgettable and greatly missed Latina, here’s why she’s unmatched:
She overcame obstacles in both the Spanish- and English-language music markets.
Although as a little girl she dreamt of performing the pop music she grew up listening to in her first language, English, Selena uncovered her Latin roots to get a footing in the music industry. She learned Spanish phonetically to sing, and if a word tripped her up, she breezed through the misstep with her natural charm.
She accomplished so much, so young.
Selena was the first Tejana singer to win a Grammy AND Gold Record, achieving success in a male-dominated genre of music. To top it off, her crossover album, Dreaming of You, became her first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart and stayed there for 44 consecutive weeks.
She had a positive body image.
While many say Selena’s body was beyond perfect, she accepted herself as is. She even boasted about her pizza-loving ways and lack of discipline when it came to dieting.
She had an iconic style.
In addition to singing, Selena also designed her onstage outfits. Who can forget those bejeweled bustiers, sparkly bell-bottom pants, and statement earrings? She had a strong sense of personal style, and that confidence made it iconic.
She was the perfect blend of two worlds.
Selena was born in Texas but she was of Mexican descent. She balanced her heritage and the world around her, something all U.S. Latinas can relate to seeing as most of us are native-born Americans, and she was the first to show this on the big stage. Yes, Latinas are proud of their background, they’re American, and they rock, too.