Today marks the 20th anniversary of Selena Quintanilla’s murder at the hands of Yolanda Saldivar. It’s hard to believe two decades have passed; in many ways, the pioneering Tex-Mex singer continues to feel as relevant today as she was in the early 90s. It’s not just her forward-thinking sound (which, by the way, changed the music game – one only has to listen to “Techno Cumbia” to hear her imprint on the nu-cumbia sounds that are popping off everywhere from Buenos Aires to Los Angeles today).
And it wasn’t just how she redefined standards of beauty and style with her singular look – though she can be credited with providing an alternative to the Anglo beauty norms that dominated in the 90s, putting morenas with curves in the spotlight long before J Lo or Kim. We still see her signature crop tops and high-waisted jeans on all the gyals today.
Though we will always remember her for those things, there was something else about Selena. For a bicultural kid like me, who grew up with all of the complex “ni de aqui, ni de allá” sentiments that can come with having a foot in two cultures, Selena was the first affirmation of my identity in pop culture. Here was a down-home girl who could sing in Spanish and in English, who could be accepted by U.S. Latinos, mainstream Anglo audiences, and Latin Americans alike.
Somehow, she embodied the collective aspirations of the Latino diaspora, and she did it with such humility and humor that she made it look easy. She gave us the conviction that we could do it too – and for that, we will remember her always.
Today, on the 20th anniversary of her passing, here are 15 ways to keep her memory alive and reflect on her cultural impact.
Listen to Our Selena Spotify Playlist
Read Texas Monthly's Amazing Oral History of Selena
Five years ago, Texas Monthly published “Dreaming of Her,” an oral history piece that gathered those who knew Selena best – her family, her husband, her bandmates and childhood friends, etc. – to tell her story in their own words. It’s a powerful read and just as relevant today as it was then.
Stock Up on Selena Memorabilia
From nail art to jewelry to full-on recreations of her iconic outfits, check out our round up of Five Selena Quintanilla Memorabilia Items For Your Como La Flor Collection for items to add to your wish list.
Watch the Selena Movie
The movie memorializing Selena’s life has become iconic in its own right. Starring Jennifer Lopez as Selena, Edward James Olmos as her father, and the late Lupe Ontiveros as her fan club president, the film made millions of dollars at the box office, and made J Lo a star. Learn where you can stream it here.
Pay Homage to her Makeup Look
Selena’s look – her bustiers, her staple red lip, her black eye-liner – have made a huge impact on her fans. One such fan recently took her dedication to a whole new level by starting a Change.org petition asking M·A·C Cosmetics to release a “Selena Quintanilla for M·A·C” limited edition collection. We’re still waiting with bated breath for this to happen, but in the meantime we rounded up some ways to pay homage to her signature beauty look with our 5 Favorite Selena Makeup Tutorials on YouTube so you can master the look at home.
Relive Some of Her Iconic Performances
Of course we all remember Selena’s epic performance in Houston’s Astrodome in That. Purple. Jumpsuit.
But there are also plenty of other memorable performances that have thankfully found their way online, including footage from her last performance on Siempre en Domingo. Watching these will give you life.
Get Your PhD in Selena Studies
About a dozen scholars have published essays on the late singer in peer-reviewed journals, and our friends over at Fusion highlighted three who dedicated much of their PhD careers to studying Selena’s cultural impact and significance. One even coined the term “Selenidad.”
If you have aspirations in academia, I can’t think of a better subject of study.
Take Buzzfeed's Insanely Hard Selena Movie Quiz
I thought I was a fan of the movie, until I got an embarrassing 7/23 right on this quiz (though in my defense, it’s been a few years since I last watched it…).
Only the diehard, “Anything for Salinas” fans will nail this one, so good luck.
Follow These Selena Quintanilla Fan Instagram Accounts
Plenty of instagram fan pages are sharing #rare and popular Selena photos using hashtags like #SelenaVIVE2015, #SiempreSelena, and #SelenaLaLeyenda. We covered one of them in our Instagram of the Week column, but you can also follow users like @queenquintanilla, @lomejordeselena and@selenadreamingofyou.
Hear Other Huge Celebrities Talk About How She Influenced Them
Queen Bey talks about meeting La Reina Del Tex Mex and growing up hearing her on the radio in Texas :heart:
Virtually Visit the Selena Museum
The Selena museum was built by the Quintanilla family in 1998 to give fans a way to remember the achievements and life of their beloved daughter. It displays her red Porsche, awards, stage outfits, and other memorabilia. If you can’t head to South Texas to check it out in person, you can take a little virtual tour with the YouTube video above. Some of Selena’s outfits are also housed in the Smithsonian museum in DC, for those who live in the DMV area.
Revisit Some of Her Best Outfits & Trend-Setting Looks
There’s no question that Selena was a next-level forward-thinker when it came to fashion, designing many of her looks and even establishing her own boutique, Selena Etc., in 1993 in Corpus Christi.
Our friends over at Voxxi round up trends that Selena did first.
Celebrate "Selena Day" in Texas
Two weeks after her death, George W. Bush (governor of Texas at the time) declared her birthday Selena Day in Texas. Though it’s not a national holiday, we can celebrate it like it is.
Go to Festival de la Flor
This April 17-18, The late reina will be honored at Corpus Christi’s “Fiesta de la Flor,” which commemorates the 20th anniversary of her death. The festival will include live acts Los Lobos, Steven James & The Jaded, and Las Fenix, an outdoor screening of “Selena” A.B. & Los Kumbia Kings, & more. Pretty much everyone will be there, and so should you (tickets are only $5!). Learn more here.