Fronteras: Ricardo Chavira Reconnects To South-Central Texas Roots As Abraham Quintanilla In Netflix’s 'Selena: The Series'
Selena Quintanilla-Pérez is the undisputed Queen of Tejano music. The late singer’s life returns to screens this weekend in Netflix’s “Selena: The Series.”
The two-season miniseries goes deeper than Gregory Nava’s 1997 acclaimed film. It depicts Selena’s early start in Lake Jackson, Texas, to her tragic death 25 years ago at age 23. The series explores not just Selena, but the family who raised her and played with her on stage.
That includes Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla — a musician and producer in his own right who helped forge the career of his daughter and zealously guards her legacy. Quintanilla is portrayed by Texas native Ricardo Chavira.
Chavira, born in Austin and raised in San Antonio, told TPR’s Nathan Cone when it came time to try out for the role of the family’s patriarch, he watched old interviews of Quintanilla and felt an immediate connection to the men who surrounded him in his youth.
“I listened to him and watched him and I was like, my God, this is like watching any one of my tios, or my dad or anybody. I'm like, I know this guy,” said Chavira. “I grew up with like 10 of him, you know, subjecting me to all kinds of male macho torture.”
Chavira said beyond the cultural similarities he shares with the Quintanilla family, the project holds a deeper significance for the South Texas community at large. He described it as “the universal story of the American dream,” but framed through the lens of a Mexican American family — a rarity in the mainstream media, but an image Chavira is optimistic won’t be the last.
“I think you're going to start seeing more stories coming out about our area. I think it's long overdue.”
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