The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

“Cause I’m dreaming of you tonight…”

Remembering Selena 29 years later

To many, it does not seem that it has been 29 years since the passing of Selena Quintanlla-Perez made national news. However, with the recent 29-year anniversary of her death, which occurred on the devastating day of March 31, 1995, and her birthday on April 16, it seems that the Queen of Tejano music will not soon leave the hearts of those who still cherish her and her music.

The Texas resident singer began her life in Lake Jackson, Texas with her brother and sister, Suzzette and Abraham Jr., whom she would go on to work with majorly in her singing career. She was born Selena Quintanilla on April 16, 1971, to Abraham and Marcella Quintanilla. Almost immediately, her father saw that Selena was a star, and had the three siblings form a small band where Selena was the lead singer at just age 10.

The band would be called Selena y Los Dinos, and during that time, Selena, having been only an English native speaker, learned Spanish through her father and the lyrics of the songs she sang. The music she sang as a part of the group and later in her solo career would be a part of a style of music called Tejano. Tejano incorporates not onlyMexican influences into the song and dance, but American influences as well derived from North Mexico and Texas.

She was discovered following a performance in 1989 at the Tejano Music Awards and would go on to make her first album that same year. Her family still played a heavy role in her career, with her brother writing and helping produce a lot of her new music. She would release five albums between 1989 and 1995, including one live album.

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Her music would not go unnoticed as she popularized the Tejano style of music to a wide audience all over the U.S. She would also go on to win a multitude of awards from countless accolade shows, including the Tejano Music Awards, Billboard Latin Music Awards, BMI Music Awards, and Grammys. She won a Grammy in 1994 for Best Mexican-American Album for her live album. Posthumously, she would win another Grammy for the Lifetime Achievement Award, and gain a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Selena had other interests outside of music, including opening a boutique with her own branded line of clothing and accessories, becoming a community spokesperson, and supporting local communities and charities. She also found love in an unlikely place with one of her guitarists, Chris Perez, who joined her band line-up in 1990 as lead guitarist. The two would soon secretly begin dating, hiding it due to friction with the singer’s father. Though Abraham would soon find out and chaos ensued, eventually all would calm down and Perez and the singer would elope and move into a home in Corpus Christi. 

The happy couple was  married for three years and all was well for the singer until Selena found issues regarding money income with her boutique. She and her family found evidence of someone embezzling from Selena and her boutique, and after investigation , this person would turn out to be Yolanda Saldívar . Saldívar, a close friend of the family and president of Selena’s fan club, was confronted by Selena’s  family who then began to fire her based on the evidence. 

However, due to Saldívar still having documents and wanting to talk to Selena, Selena was convinced to go to a motel to meet Saldívar in person. A disagreement occurred while the two were at the motel and Saldívar shot and wounded the musician. News companies quickly made their way to the scene and Selena was taken to a hospital as Saldívar, who cornered herself in a truck while threatening to kill herself, was eventually arrested. 

Selena would not survive this fatal wound and died in the hospital leaving behind her entire family and husband, with whom they had only just begun planning to have children. The entire nation mourned the loss of this young star who was only 23 years old, on the cusp of her 24th birthday. Former Texas Governor, George W. Bush, would go on to declare April 16 as “Selena Day” in Texas. Many people came to Selena’s honorary vigils and her funeral.

Selena had had her final concert at the Astrodome in Houston on Feb. 26, 1995, only a little over a month before her death. A live recording of this concert was released on DVD, and is iconic not only because it was her last performance, but also because of the beautiful combination of her music. 

Her legacy is one to be remembered, as many people still go to social media to celebrate her life through her music and costumes. Now more than ever there seems to be a spotlight on her legacy as a movie and show have since been released that display her life. 

Saldívar was taken to trial in October of 1995 where she was sentenced to life in prison. However, she also received the possibility of parole in 30 years, meaning there is a possibility that in 2025, Saldívar could be eligible for parole. This realization has led to many memes and videos being posted online, mainly in anger, regarding if that reality were to come to fruition. Right now, it seems unlikely that she will receive parole, but more is to be known as 2025 draws nearer.

Selena’s influence on not just Latin music but pop music and its audiences is felt annually with many artists from different genres performing some of her songs during their concerts and clothing branded with the singers’ signature and picture. She helped to bridge the gap between Mexican-style music and pop, and served as inspiration for artists such as Beyonce, Karol G, and Selena Gomez.

Though the musician’s time was cut short, and her fans have mourned her longer than they knew her, Selena is an inspiration for generations to come. Everything the late artist encompassed is a lesson that will not soon be forgotten, and the Queen of Tejano music will continue to help make way for more Latin musicians.

For more information on the Tejano Queen, please visit and

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Jennifer Fernandez
Jennifer Fernandez, Staff Writer

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