Selena Quintanilla's life tragically ended when I was only seven years old, but that did not minimize the impact she had on me. Even though I was Dominican, I was still turning up to Quintanilla's Tejano music, and when her life ended, so did my hopes of ever being able to see her perform live.
But thanks to her amazing fans, Selena's legend never died — she lives on through the countless tribute events held around the country in Quintanilla's honor. When I discovered that one was being held in my hometown of New York City for what would have been her 46th birthday, I knew I couldn't miss out on the opportunity.
I was scrambling trying to think of what to wear, and then it hit me! I could easily do her classic white boyfriend shirt and blue jeans combo!
I bought the boxiest white shirt I could find in the men's section of H&M, threw on a red lipstick, winged liner, styled my hair in her favorite half-up, half down style, and I was ready to party.
I arrived at DROM right before midnight, and was happy to not find a mob of people waiting to get in.
But don't let that fool you, once I got inside, I found a dance floor filled to the brim with fans.
Everyone was jammin' to Quintanilla punk cover band Amor Prohibido.
I love their version of "Como la Flor!"
I arrived just in time to ring in what would've been Quintanilla's 46th birthday with the unique sound of this Brooklyn-based crew.
Next, singer Ana Isabelle came to cover Quintanilla classics like "Amor Prohibido" and "No Me Queda Más" with her impeccable voice.
She didn't need any background singers because the crowd in attendance was lit AF.
By the time Isabelle left the stage and Quintanilla's nephew Principe Q started his DJ set, I was ready to cut loose.
Everyone was getting their Cumbia on, and even though I'm no expert, I did my little two-step, and threw in a little hip action while I was at it. I even got my boyfriend — who claims to never have listened to a Quintanilla song before this event — to join in on the dancing.
The energy was incredible! It felt like I was at the best family party ever.
The drinks were flowing and emotions were running high!
The turn up was real and then it was the moment that I had been waiting for — the dance off!
After our host for evening Lady Quesa'Dilla gracefully roasted anyone who may have had even a bone of homophobia in their bodies, it was time to get busy!
Everyone brought their best washing machine...
But this young woman right here shut it all the way down!
Pro tip: incorporate a variety of Quintanilla moves into your routine to win over the crowd.
I thought I had gotten my entire life, but the costume contest that followed was even better.
Lady Quesa'Dilla turned it into a beauty pageant, complete with questions about what made Quintanilla so great.
Once Lady Quesa'Dilla picked the final two, the ladies had to lip synch for their lives to "Amor Prohibido."
A winner was crowned, and it was the perfect ending to my night.
The experience was everything I thought it would be! I had an amazing time with Quintanilla fans from all over Latin America, and it taught me why these gatherings are so valuable.
Quintanilla isn't just one of the prides of Mexico, but of Latinos everywhere. Even though we are often lumped into one, every country is different and has their own specific culture, but when it comes to Selena that doesn't matter. We all put on for our queen!
Although she has been gone for 22 years, she still has the power to make people from all walks of life come together to sing, dance, and celebrate as one.
What a beautiful legacy to leave behind.