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Remembering Selena

Yesterday would have been Selena Quintanilla Perez’s 43rd birthday and we’d like to take some time to remember her. I grew up in Texas and I remember first hearing Selena’s music when she was little known outside of the state. The musical form she played, Tejano, was the music of a people caught between two worlds, not quite Americans but not truly Mexicans either. Selena bridged that gap as no one before or after her has done. I was in high school when she was viciously murdered by a crazed fan. I remember the outpouring of grief from my Mexican-American classmates was so overwhelming that the school sent us all home early. That’s how big Selena was in Texas. Sadly, Selena was just on the cusp of huge crossover success at the time of her death. I have no doubt that if she had lived she would still be one of the biggest pop stars around.

They say that only the good die young and that was certainly apt in Selena’s case. I never met her myself but I know dozens of people who did and she was by all accounts a lovely person. In the years since her death Santa Selena has taken on a cult-like status. My aunts live a couple of blocks from the graveyard where she is buried in Corpus Christi, Texas. The place has become sort of a pilgrimage spot for her fans. In a way she’s like that other poor kid made good, Elvis Presley. In the end Selena’s legacy is the amazing music she left us with. Here are some of the best. ¡Viva Selena!

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