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Remembering Selena 20 Years Later

There are moments that you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you first heard about them. I remember being a senior in high school in 1995 and I was on my way to my first period class when I saw a huddle of some of my Mexican female friends wailing. I went up and asked them what had happened and they told me that Selena Quintanilla-Perez, the rising star known as Selena was dead. A good buddy of mine then came tearing through the hall. He was actually Selena’s cousin. I hugged him and told him how sorry I was. He was a big dude, a football player, but he wept like a small child. He then punched a locker so hard I thought he had broken his hand. Not much got done at school that day. We were in Texas, after all and Selena had become one of the first Tejano stars to become mainstream. Selena was on the cusp of being an international superstar before her life was senselessly snuffed out.

She was murdered by the former president of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar. She was the perfect combination of obsessed fan, disgruntled ex-employee, thief, and general psychopath. She gunned Selena down in her hotel room and just like that one of the greatest voices ever to come out of Texas was silenced. In the years since her death, Selena’s stature has only grown. She’s achieved almost saint status being reffered to by many as Santa Selena. My aunts live near the graveyard where she is buried in Corpus Christi, TX and I have visited her grave. It is like a shrine where people go to pay their respects to this fallen icon. In a sense she is like the Mexican-American Elvis Presley only Elvis got to enjoy the fruits of his fame and fortune. So, 20 years later we remember Selena through her music that lives on forever.

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