Madonna was Head Boss In Charge. Mariah was wailing notes some human ears couldn't even register. It was the early '90s, and it didn't seem like there was room for another superstar female pop vocalist. Especially not a poor, unknown girl from South Texas. Enter: Selena, the Queen of Tejano.
It'd be unfair to call her an underdog. She was just as talented and twice as charming as many of the biggest names of the day. She looked different, yet she was beautiful. She danced differently, and those moves mesmerized. Her fashion sense was as flamboyant as it was attractive to regular women who shopped her boutiques.
But, there's a lot that's unfair about Selena's story. Unlike her contemporaries, Selena Quintanilla isn't still around basking in the warm nostalgia of studded bustiers and sky-high tendrils. Twenty-one years ago, she was shot and killed by the president of her fan club on March 31, 1995.
As we remember today her boundless potential and celebrate her undeniable legacy, here are 10 things you should know about the Texas-born star:
- English was her first language. She learned Spanish phonetically and worried that Mexican fans might see view her as a fake. To the contrary, thousands embraced her with fervor.
- The title track of her 1990 album, Ven Comigo, was the first Tejano record to ever go gold.
- Her first album recorded in English, Dreaming of You, was released posthumously. At the time, it was the fastest-selling album by a female artist in history, and she placed English and Spanish tracks simultaneously on Billboard Top Ten lists.
- She holds the record for most Tejano Music Awards wins for Female Vocalist of the Year. Her first was in 1986, and she continued to win it 10 more times, including two posthumously.
- In fact, she won a lot of industry awards including a Grammy, 36 total Tejano Music Awards, and 13 Billboard Latin Music Awards. In all, she won 66 awards and 82 nominations.
- The 1997 biopic, Selena, grossed more than $11 million during its opening weekend and catapulted another rising Latina star, Jennifer Lopez.
- It's the 10th highest-grossing biopic of all time.
- Selena worked on a wide range of philanthropic projects from drug and alcohol prevention to domestic violence relief and fundraising for AIDS patients.
- Then-governor George W. Bush named her birthday, April 16, "Selena Day" after her death.
- A statue called Mirador de la Flor ("Watcher of the Flower") was erected in her honor in 1997 in Corpus Christi. Check out this playlist put together by our colleagues at Al Dia:
Check out this cool playlist put together by our colleagues at Al Dia: