Selena Quintanilla-Perez is a Mexican-American singer, songwriter, model, fashion designer, is a cross-cultural icon, she also is one of the biggest Latin artists of the 90’s based in Corpus Cristi, Texas. As one of the biggest Tejano artists to date, Selena inspires us still.
Selena: Queen of Tejano
Known as the Queen of Tejano, Selena’s popularity grew exponentially since the time she began releasing music until the time of her death in the 1995. Tejano translated is simply a Mexican American inhabitant of southern Texas. In the video below, we hear Selena define Tejano music in her own words.
As we can see in this interview, Tejano music is culturally diverse in itself. Encyclopedia of World Biography says Selena didn’t know any Spanish before her musical career. Her father, however, was fluent in the language and wrote songs for her in Spanish. He believed that this would help her music appeal to a larger demographic, beyond just Tejanos. As a result of years of singing the songs and traveling, Selena is now fluent in Spanish.
Her music is not only in the Tejano genre, however. She also has a few songs in the English-Pop genre. Her song “Dreaming of You”, for instance, is completely in English. This song also became wildly popular in the U.S. during the 90s. The mixture of both languages helped boost her fame in both North and South America.
Texas State Historical Association says she moved to Corpus Christi, Texas from Lake Jackson, Texas when she was 11 years old. As a result, she became a true boarder-lander. As her music gained popularity, she toured throughout North, Central, and South America. This resulted in her music being not only having cultural mobility, but also global mobility. Her music continues to move peoples bodies around the world.
In the movie Selena, produced by her father, we see multiple instances where Selena is discriminated against in Texas. Her cross-cultural identity often led to her being stereotyped in America, despite her success. This is something that many cross-culture kids (and adults) frequently have to deal with. Selena shows us that we can overcome these challenges, which is part of what makes her such an icon. She shows us that the answer to discrimination is not conformity, but embracement and celebration of our differences.
As we can see, Selena had a lot of cultural diversity, both hidden and obvious. Although she was taken too soon, her success flourished even further after her passing. Her legacy lives on for not only the Tejano and hispanic community, but all CCKs as well. We remember her today and for generations to come.