There’s just something about a little girl from the ‘hood having her dreams come true. It speaks to something in the American zeitgeist. It is a modern-twist on the rags-to-riches formula. In a world that is often reduced to stereotypes, Selena is an example according to Pheolyn Allen Hayes, who is quoted in an article by Girls United. Selena’s new album offers
“She’s one of the first that showed the world, that the Texas spirit can make legends, especially legends of color.”
Texas, of course, would go on to produce scores of other Black talent. This includes Megan Thee Stallion and Queen Bey herself.
Of course, no little girl can make it on her own. While she was alive, Selena described her close-knit family in interviews. She also attributed their amazing team-work to Hispanic and Latin cultural values. Their bond as a family was so close that there is little room for doubt over what Selena would have wanted. On Good Morning America, her brother, A.B. III, and her sister, Suzette, describe how they deal with confrontations with haters. “What critics? We don’t care about them!” Suzette continued, “I hope people understand that everything that we do is with love and care and with beauty.”
There are many stories of Black showbiz families, like the world-famous Jacksons, who created success for their children by working as a team. Unfortunately, history illustrates that fame and fortune often come with a heavy price tag. Families like the Quintanillas are proof that pursuing a career in music is not synonymous with succumbing to greed, and that love really can win in the end.
Speaking of the Jacksons, Latina singers of the 80s and 90s like Selena helped spread Black popular music like the works of Janet Jackson to her Mexican-American musical community. As the Tejano-style singer learned to sing in Spanish despite not being a native speaker, her manner of conducting herself as an artist ensured that both styles of music would endure for generations to come. Selena’s work as a performer crystalized a place in the world for young Hispanic people who were born in the United States. Nowadays, many young people throughout the United States communicate in Spanish. Selena contributed to this phenomenon as she represented and continues to represent the pride in embracing one’s heritage as a minority.
Despite her indisputable success, Selena’s career is marked by tragedy. Like many Black and Brown performers, she was unfortunately targeted for violence. Some of her legend-making live performances foreshadowed her untimely demise. The singer opened her iconic performance at the astrodome of Houston with a rendition of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive!”
Will you be buyin’ a new Selena album? What can be done about violence against celebrities? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment!