22 years after her tragic death, the legacy of Tejano singer Selena still lives on. Last week, the late singer was honored with a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame outside Capitol Records, where she once signed a contract to EMI Latin. Selena's family, friends and fans attended the ceremony, along with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and actress Eva Longoria, who took the podium to share some words Selena’s influence on her career and identity.
"Growing up, there was not a reflection of me anywhere," Longoria said. "It was like someone like me didn't exist in American mainstream," she continued during the ceremony. “This star isn't just for Selena, but for all Latinas.”
"While she was taken from us way too early, we now have something permanent that generation after generation can see in the most famous neighborhood anywhere in the world," Mayor Garcetti proudly expressed, according to CNN.
Recently, her legacy was resonated in pop culture. MAC Cosmetics launched a swift-selling limited-edition Selena MAC cosmetics line, which was brought to life in large part due to fan demand. Celebrities like Demi Lovato, Keke Palmer and Kim Kardashian-West payed homage to the Tejano queen by dressing up as her for Halloween. Wax replicas of her stand in Madame Tussauds both Hollywood and New York. Google's Doodle paid tribute to her on the 28th anniversary of the release of her first studio album by releasing an animated video that tells her story, from childhood to stardom, and features her singing her hit single "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom."
Selena’s legacy is not just as a music powerhouse but one of the all-time great entertainers. When she was alive, she was breaking concert attendance records and her albums were at the top of the music charts. She was known for hits that include "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom," "Dreaming of You" and "Como la Flor." As of November 2017, Selena has sold more than 65 million albums worldwide. The GRAMMY winner also became a fashion and beauty icon. Selena opened boutiques in San Antonio, Texas and in her hometown, Corpus Christi. She designed her stage costumes which have been recently displayed in museum exhibits throughout the U.S. and had a fashion line. She also made her acting debut in the 1994 film “Don Juan DeMarco,” starring Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando.
“She accomplished so much for such a young age,” said Roger Gómez, a fan from Santa Ana who manages Love Selena, a website that’s been around since 1995. “She represents the whole American dream. She made it, and we could too.”
Her posthumously released fifth album, “Dreaming of You,” which featured four English-language songs (including the smash hit “I Could Fall in Love” and was set to launch her cross-over career in the American market), showcased her talent beyond Tejano, cumbias and ballads.
“She would have been up there with the Janets [Jackson] and the Madonnas,” José Behar, former president of EMI Latin, told The Los Angeles Times months after her death.
To this day, Selena’s admirers have kept her flame alive through Facebook groups, fan sites, murals, tribute performances and parties to both celebrate her birthday and remember her death.
“Her music is the soundtrack to many people’s lives,” says Mireya Loza, a curator at Washington D.C.’s National Museum of American History, which is currently hosting a yearlong Selena exhibit. “Today, Selena’s music is still requested at parities, from quinceañeras to birthdays. Selena connected to the urban Latino experience, and her music continues to be passed on.”
Now more than ever, Selena's spirit lives on and is remembered by millions around the world. For a fan like me that treasures her albums and memorabilia, her legacy will continue forever and to generations to come.