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

Fronteras: Ricardo Chavira Reconnects To South-Central Texas Roots As Abraham Quintanilla In Netflix’s 'Selena: The Series'

Ways To Subscribe
The cast of Netflix's "Selena: The Series." (L to R) Carlos Alfredo Jr. as Joe Ojeda; Hunter Reese Peña as Ricky Vela; Noemi Gonzalez as Suzette Quintanilla; Christian Serratos as Selena Quintanilla-Pérez; Gabriel Chavarria as A.B. Quintanilla; and Jesse Posey as Chris Perez. | Credit: NETFLIX © 2020
NETFLIX © 2020
The cast of Netflix's "Selena: The Series." (L to R) Carlos Alfredo Jr. as Joe Ojeda; Hunter Reese Peña as Ricky Vela; Noemi Gonzalez as Suzette Quintanilla; Christian Serratos as Selena Quintanilla-Pérez; Gabriel Chavarria as A.B. Quintanilla; and Jesse Posey as Chris Perez.

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.”

TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1
Lauren Terrazas can be reached at lauren@tpr.org and on Twitter at @terrazas_lauren
Nathan has been with TPR since 1995, when he began working on classical music station KPAC 88.3 FM, as host of “Tuesday Night at the Opera.” He soon learned the ropes on KSTX 89.1 FM, and volunteered to work practically any shift that came his way, on either station. He worked in nearly every capacity on the radio before moving into Community Engagement, Marketing, and Digital Media. His reporting and criticism has been honored by the Houston Press Club and Texas Associated Press.