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The Rise & Fall of the Queen of Tejano Music By Lydia Gutierrez

photo 690/000026612/selena_02.jpg,

About her.. Selena Quintanilla Perez

Selena Etc., in Corpus Christi in 1994.. It had been her dream since she was a little Born: April 16, 1971 in Lake Jackson, Texas girl to sell the clothing and jewelry that she loved to design. In January of 1995, The family eventually relocated to Corpus another boutique opened in San Antonio, Christi. Family: Abraham (Father), Marcella (Mother), Suzette (Sister), A.B. III (Brother) April 2, 1992, she married the band’s guitarist Chris PÊrez. By the age of 19, she was a millionaire. She could not speak Spanish and learned the Spanish lyrics for her songs phonetically. Selena opened her first boutique and salon, 2

photo credits: index.htm, Bob Prager, Bob Prager Selena Portfolio, Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Special Collections & Archives Department, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Timeline to Stardom 1994

1980 - 1983

-Selena y Los Dinos begin performing -Selena y Los Dinos does first recording


Has role in the film “Don Juan De Marco”. - Band debuted in New York, Los Angeles, Argentina & Puerto Rico

-Receives Female Vocalist of the Year & Performer of the Year at the Tejano Music Awards

- Released, “Amor Prohibido,” and went gold

1995 Began recording first English language


album that was expected to launch her into

-Signed by EMI Latin

a crossover career


- Won six Tejano Music Awards, including

-Releases first album


-“Ven Conmigo” goes gold, the first Tejano

- Nominated for a second Grammy for


female vocalist for the eighth time

record to go gold

“Amor Prohibido”


-Won Grammy for best Mexican American performance for “Selena Live”

- Hispanic Business magazine reports Selena has assests worth $5 million

- Starts Selena Etc. clothing manufacturing business

3 photo credits: biografia.html, html/htmlfront., biografia/s/selena.htm htm

Music Selena was a household name in Mexico

The summer after her death, Selena’s

and much of Latin America and was

album “Dreaming of You”, debuted at

on the verge of an unprecedented

number one on the Billboard music

breakthrough to the English-speaking

charts in the US, making her the first

pop audience at the time of her death.

Hispanic singer to accomplish this feat and the second highest debut

Selena’s 1994 album, Amor Prohibido

after Michael Jackson’s “HIStory.” On

— which won a Grammy nomination

its release date, the album sold over

— sold six hundred thousand copies in

175,000 copies, a record for a female

the United States.

pop singer, and sold two million copies in its first year. Songs such as “I Could

By 1995, Selena’s albums had sold a

Fall In Love” and “Dreaming Of You”

combined total of three million copies.

were played widely by mainstream English






photo credits:,

Music latter reaching #25 on the Billboard

Music Awards ceremonies, including

Hot 100. Meanwhile, “I Could Fall In

best female entertainer; best female

Love,” while ineligible for the Hot 100

vocalist; album of the year; Tejano

at the time, did reach #12 on the Hot

crossover song; and record of the

100 Airplay chart and the top 10 on the

year. An amazed Selena was quoted

Adult Contemporary Chart. “Dreaming

as saying in Time magazine, “Never

of You” has sold approximately five

in my dreams would I have thought

million copies in the USA.

I would become this big. I am still freaking out.”

Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” was named song of the year award at the

Selena was only the third Hispanic

Tejano Music Awards in early 1995.

performer to ever cross from the Latin

She also won five more of the fifteen

division to the more mainstream part

awards presented at the 1995 Tejano

of the record company.

om photo credits:,


March 31, 1995 Earlier this year, the Quintanillas discovered that Yolanda Saldívar, the president of Selena’s fan club and the manager of her boutiques, was stealing money and decided to fire her. Soon after the fallout, Selena agreed to meet Saldívar in a Days Inn hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas, on the morning of March 31, 1995 in order to retrieve paperwork for tax purposes. At the motel, Selena demanded the missing financial papers. An argument ensued and Saldívar drew a gun from her purse, pointing it first at her own head and then at Selena. As the singer turned and left the room, Saldívar shot her once in the back. Selena fled to the manager’s office in the lobby for help. Before collapsing, Selena named Saldívar as her assailant. Selena died an hour later at the hospital. She was 23.


photo credits: index.htm

Saldívar holed up with the revolver in the cab of a pickup truck in the Days Inn parking lot. For hours she threatened to shoot herself while negotiating with police via a cellular car phone. As the news of Selena’s murder spread, the singer’s fans stood vigil at the Days Inn. Saldívar finally surrendered hours later.

The Aftermath As word of Selena’s death spread, fans reacted

in Pictures.

first with disbelief, then with a massive, pub-

April 12, 1995, George W. Bush, then the gover-

lic display of adoration.

nor of Texas, declared April 16 (Selena’s birth-

Churches hastily or-

ganized prayer vigils. Tejano radio stations

day), “Selena Day.”

played Selena’s music around the clock. Record stores sold out of her albums.

June 2006, Selena was commemorated with a museum and a bronze life-sized statue.

Major networks interrupted regular programming to break the news; Tom Brokaw referred

Saldívar was convicted for the murder October

to Selena as “The Mexican Madonna.”

23rd, 1995. Three days later she was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for at

Fifteen hundred mourners attended a vigil. Ten

least 30 years.

thousand people went to Corpus Christi to pass by Selena’s coffin. In Los Angeles, four thousand people gathered to honor her. Mourners also gathered in San Antonio at two separate sites. “People” magazine published a commemorative issue titled Selena 1971-1995, Her Life photo credits: index.htm, Bob Prager, Bob Prager Selena Portfolio, Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Special Collections & Archives Department, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.


The Movie... In 1997, the movie “Selena” debuted and starred award-winning actors Jennifer Lopez, Edward James Olmos, Constance Marie, Jacob Vargas, and Jackie Guerra. Directed by Gregory Nava, the biopic opened with positive reviews and was one of the highest- grossing films in 1997. The







Mexican-American community, since Lopez is Puerto Rican and played the role of a singer of Mexican descent. But Selena’s fans supported the movie, and Lopez’s role in the film helped elevate her career. Although Lopez would succeed as a pop star herself a few years later, Selena’s voice was dubbed in for all the songs in the movie. For her role in the film, Lopez was nominated for a Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a Musical.


photo credits: 1997/posters/selena.jpg,

The Rise and Fall of the Queen of Tejano Music  

2009 class project to create a service booklet about any topic for the general public.