Wednesday, August 30

Missing the Texas flower Selena Quintanilla-Perez

I see that Google has raised $2 million for victims of Hurricane Harvey. That's great, but Selena Quintanilla-Perez would've raised $10 million in a couple hours. 

Here, via YouTube a medley of some of her hit Tejano songs -- Como la flor, La carcacha, Bidi bidi bom bom, Baila esta cumbia -- and cumbia dance routines. The irresistibly danceable Tejano is a mix of pop, rock, polka, R&B and Latin music, but Selena was the heart of Tejano -- and "Tex-Mex."

And again from YouTube, for rent for about 3 bucks, is Selena, the 1997 movie starring Jennifer Lopez based on Selena's life. There was controversy at the time about Lopez playing Selena, but there would have been controversy in any case; nobody could quite believe someone so young, so beautiful and full of good spirits, was gone. Once the movie was released, however, Selena's fans and family admitted that Lopez did a fine job of portraying Selena (with Selena's singing dubbed into her songs).

Selena's life is an uplifting story, well told in the film with big help from Edward James Olmos playing Selena's father, although it missed being great viewing fare for adolescents because of the crime, fueled by pathological envy, that took her life even though it was sensitively handled in the script.

Well, the murderer's name is forgotten; Selena Quintanilla-Perez became a kind of immortal, if only because she was the breakthrough. 

Born and raised in southeastern Texas, she was thoroughly American -- she didn't even speak Spanish -- and protected from the prejudice directed at Mexican-Americans in the larger American society. But her father knew from experience that not only was there prejudice, it was on both sides. Non-Mexican Americans didn't want to hear a 'Mexican' singing 'American' music. The Mexicans in Mexico didn't want to hear an 'Americano' singing Mexican music.

Selena ended all that silliness. Quite an accomplishment for a woman who didn't live to see her 24th birthday.


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