Long Beach’s most beloved daughter, Jenni Rivera, passed away tragically at the height of her career in 2012, leaving behind scores of heartbroken fans on both sides of the border. Who hasn’t gotten excessively drunk to the lyrics of “Culpable o Inocente,” “De Contrabando,” or her rendition of “Dos Botellas de Mezcal”? Despecho always goes down easier with some Spanish-language sass.
Considering the position Rivera held within Regional Mexican music as a strong-willed woman that spoke for all women who were tired of machos running things – it seems like a natural course of action for a network to consider her story prime material for the current bio-series craze. Telemundo’s Jenni Rivera: Mariposa de Barrio will explore her humble upbringing as the California-born child of immigrants with dreams bigger than what her surroundings had to offer. In charge of bringing La Gran Señora to life is up-and-coming actress Angélica Celaya, whose previous titles include Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Constantine, Burn Notice, and El Señor de los Cielos.
Celaya’s own journey into the entertainment industry mirrors that of La Chacalosa, including her love for Mexican culture instilled by her parents. The first trailer for the upcoming episodic drama highlights the close relationship between Rivera and her father who relentlessly encouraged her to strive for success. Becoming the first female Regional Mexican singer to sell out the Staples Center and selling over 20 millions albums was no small feat.
Beyond what anyone’s opinions are about her music or scandals, it’s undeniable that the singer was an inspiration and a role model for many Mexican-American women who saw themselves reflected in her troubled rise to stardom. Becoming pregnant at 15, Rivera persevered by selling CDs at flea markets in order to support herself and her daughter, “Chiquis,” and continued her education. Not stopping after earning her GED atop of her class, she graduated with a degree in business administration from Cal State Long Beach. A survivor of domestic abuse, Jenni Rivera dedicated her off-stage time to fighting for other victims as a spokesperson for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The series is based on the artist’s New York Times best seller Inquebrantable together with anecdotes and testimonies from those close to her.
Jenni Rivera: Mariposa de Barrio premieres on June 27, 2017 on Telemundo.