The time has come to remember Selena Quintanilla. His songs with a Texas rhythm and his incredible styles marked an entire generation, especially of Latin women, and his tragic murder in the mid-90s shocked the world. Now Netflix tells its story in ‘Selena: The series’, a nine-episode biopic created by Moisés Zamora and starring Christian Serratos (Rosita in’ The Walking Dead ‘) and that, unlike other versions of the singer’s life (like’ Selena’s Secret ‘), it does have the approval of the family. Either that is a virtue or a defect.
The series traces the short life of the Texas-born artist from her childhood to her spectacular rise to fame. Thus, we see how her father Abraham Quintanilla Jr (Ricardo Chavira) finds her singing one day on the patio and realizes the potential of her voice. Get your managerial skills and recruit part of the family to set up a music group with which to entertain weddings and other events, which will eventually end up baptizing Selena and Los Dinos when he understands who the real star is, which is barely at that time to preteen. Also that there is much more future in music in Spanish than in the versions of North American music that they had been practicing.
Episode by episode, Selena Quintanilla’s fame grows more and more. His name is synonymous with youth, beauty, and Latin rhythm. The masses of audiences who attend her concerts are increasingly crowded, the media focus on her and her career takes off without losing the family essence of the project, with her brother AB (Gabriel Chavarria) writing her songs and playing the bass and his older sister Suzette (Noemí González) on drums. The success was tremendous: a Grammy winner, singing in front of crowds of 60,000 people and with more than 1.5 million albums sold throughout the United States and Mexico.
Following the pattern of other young stars, from Luis Miguel to Amy Winehouse, the father figure becomes a focus of pressure and abuse, someone who projects frustrated dreams of himself onto his children. ‘Selena: The series’ shows the dilemma between what father and daughter want, and it is that, although he has managed to make her an international star, what she really wanted was to work in the world of fashion and record songs in English.
And perhaps he could have done so over time, had it not been for his murder on March 31, 1995. Selena was shot several times in a Corpus Christi, Texas motel. He was 23 years old. The person responsible (as the trial would later show) was Yolanda Saldívar, who began as the president of her fan club and ended up working in a store that was owned by the singer. Abraham Quintanilla said that his meeting at that motel was to discuss financial irregularities and discrepancies with the fan club, for which he had recently been fired. That could have triggered the terrible event. But this fact that ended the life of the singer should not be the main memory that the public has of her, but her incredible influence on the representation of Latin culture in the ‘mainstream’.
Selena, who triumphed in the same years as Madonna and Janet Jackson, was also an inspiring woman to her fans. As Alex Zaragoya reflects well in Vice, the Netflix series does not even touch the complexity of the story at hand, and seems to turn its protagonist, they say, into a one-dimensional Disney princess. “If ‘Selena: The Series’ needs to exist (and be a monster hit) to open doors to more nuanced, creative, and wide-ranging storytelling for Latinx people, of course, I’ll take it. But that doesn’t mean we should stop lobby for new stories to be told and different experiences within Latinx culture explored, “he writes.
In short, as Zaragoya says, we must take advantage of the premiere of ‘Selena: The series’ to celebrate the legacy of Selena Quintanilla and remember everything she did for the Latin representation in the music business, even if that means forgiving her for not contributing nothing new compared to previous performances, like the movie ‘Selena’ with Jennifer López, and also her inability to understand the essence of her phenomenon.