© 2020
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

'I Could Fall In Love': Selena's Legacy, 20 Years Later

Gus Salazar holds a photo of Selena Quintanilla-Perez in Corpus Christi, Texas, as fans gathered in March to remember the Latin pop star on the 20th anniversary of her death.
Gus Salazar holds a photo of Selena Quintanilla-Perez in Corpus Christi, Texas, as fans gathered in March to remember the Latin pop star on the 20th anniversary of her death.

It's hard to believe that it's been 20 years since Selena Quintanilla-Perez was murdered in a hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas. Thursday would have been her 44th birthday, so on this week's episode of Alt.Latino, we take stock of her legacy, what she meant to Chicanos then, and what she means to Latinos today.

We bring two guests to nerd out about the "Queen Of Tejano Music." Deborah Vargas is an associate professor at the department of ethnic studies at the University of California-Riverside, as well as a Selena expert. Vargas chronicled Selena and other Chicano artists' importance in her 2012 book, Dissonant Divas In Chicana Music.

From Los Angeles, Patty Rodriguez — a Selena superfan and something of a promoter of Mexican-American culture — will also join us. Rodriguez started a petition at Change.org requesting that a cosmetics company start a Selena-themed makeup line. The petition has already gathered more than 30,000 signatures.

What unfolds here is an in-depth discussion of Tejano music, the Selena biopic that immortalized her, and how the singer transcended identity politics while remaining a hero to many Latinos.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.