By Victoria Vidales | Staff Writer

Selena was honored posthumously with a Hollywood star for her long-lasting impact on the Tejano music genre. (Courtesy of UPI)

Back in October, it was announced that the late singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez would receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the official ceremony took place on Nov. 3. Although she has already received several awards posthumously, a star on the Walk of Fame is a huge honor for any celebrity, and to many fans this gesture was a long-expected accomplishment for a woman who inspired them to follow their own dreams.
Known professionally as “Selena,” the Texas native was a trendsetter. Her unique blends of Mexican salsa and lavish costumes impressed fans nationwide. Selena received the 2,622nd star on the Walk of Fame 22 years after her tragic death. Her family and thousands of fans gathered for the ceremony, bringing in the largest crowds for a Latin musician since 1998. This development is a testament to the legacy that Selena has left behind, showing how much she has impacted people with her messages of passion and inspiration.
Selena was born into a working-class family in 1971, the youngest of Abraham Jr. and Marcella Quintanilla’s three children. Beginning in 1980, she was the lead singer of the family band “Selena y Los Dinos,” which was a continuation of her father’s band, “Los Dinos.” The band started out performing at town fairs and parties, serving as the family’s source of income.
The early years of her career were not easy for Selena or her family. The Quintanilla family lived in a poverty-level state, surviving off of the little money that the performances would make. Selena’s education suffered as well; she left school after the eighth grade and finished her studies via correspondence courses. Many fans could appreciate her determination to succeed as well as the hardships she faced with her family.
In 1984, she recorded an LP of Tejano music, an unusual choice for a woman in a field dominated by male vocalists. In 1987, she won “Best Female Vocalist of the Year” at the Tejano Music Awards. Ironically, Selena did not speak fluent Spanish and had to receive coaching for the rest of her life from her father. In 1989, she released her self-titled album, which was met with roaring praise from the Latinx community.
For the next six years, Selena continued to intensify in the music world. In 1993, her third album “Live!” won her a Grammy at the 36th Grammy Awards. The next year, Selena’s fourth album, “Amor Prohibido,” won record of the year at the Tejano Music Awards. Her fans began to call her the “Queen of Tejano Music.”
Selena’s influence on the Mexican American communities was inspiring, with many people coming together to celebrate someone they could relate to. Until Selena, there were not many Mexican American vocalists in the music industry. Even today, it’s rare to find someone of Latino ancestry in the media. Selena was able to bring a new group of people into the music scene and pave the way for more artists after her.
Selena was set to have it all as she began to work on a crossover album in English. However, it all came crashing to an end when Selena was murdered by Yolanda Saldivar in 1995. The circumstances surrounding Selena’s murder are disturbing. She was killed by her trusted employee and friend. Saldivar approached the family to create a fan club for the young singer in 1991 and began managing the various fashion boutiques that Selena designed in 1994. For many, it was hard to fathom how someone who claimed to have loved the vocalist could take her life away. Selena’s death came with nationwide mourning as her devastated family and friends held candlelight vigils for her. It is heartbreaking to see how devastating her death was for so many different people, most of whom did not know her. The impact she had was clear. People mourned her like a daughter, sister or close friend.
Even after her tragic death, Selena’s legacy lives on. Her music still remains a favorite among Latin music, with younger generations beginning to embrace her style. A film about her life starring Jennifer Lopez hit the big screen in 1997, fittingly titled Selena. Monuments are dedicated to her nationwide, particularly “Selena’s Seawall” in her hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas.
At the Walk of Fame Ceremony, over 4,000 fans came to see the singer’s star unveiled. Selena’s family and husband, Chris Perez, were also in attendance, but it was her sister Suzette who accepted the star on her behalf. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and actress Eva Longoria, a Corpus Christi native, both gave speeches in honor of Selena’s legacy.
This is a bittersweet event, as the happiness surrounding Selena’s achievement is still touched by the tragedy of her death. Today, Selena would be 46 years old. The life she could have had now will never be known, but it is important to focus on the life that she did live and how many people have better lives because of her. It has been 22 years since the singer’s death and she still is impacting people for the better.

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