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Posted: October 17, 2017

Who was Selena Quintanilla? Google honors famed singer, ‘Queen of Tejano’

What You Need To Know: Selena Quintanilla

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Who was Selena Quintanilla? Google honors famed singer, ‘Queen of Tejano’
Singer Selena Quintanilla Perez (Photo by Pam Francis/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

By Fiza Pirani, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

If you’ve visited Google’s homepage this morning, you’ve probably noticed the charming, glamorous tribute to late Mexican-American singer, Selena Quintanilla.

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Here’s what you should know about Selena and Tuesday’s Google doodle:

What is the significance of Oct. 17?

Twenty-eight years ago on Oct. 17, 1989, the late Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla debuted her first studio album, “Selena.”

» RELATED: Top 10 celebrities of Mexican heritage

What does the Google doodle include?

On the Google homepage, you’ll see an artistic rendition of one of Selena’s most iconic looks — art from her 1994 album, “Amor Prohibido.”

From there, you can hit the button for a fun, upbeat cartoon video of Selena from childhood to adulthood singing and dancing to one of her biggest hits, “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” with the family band.

Google also debuted a beautiful digital exhibit with help from the Quintanilla family, showcasing the life and legacy of the late artist.

Where was Selena Quintanilla from?

The famed Mexican-American singer was born in Lake Jackson, Texas, on April 16, 1971.

» RELATED: What is Hispanic Heritage Month? 5 things to know

How did she rise to fame?

It was Selena’s father who encouraged 9-year-old Selena and her siblings to pick up the guitar, drums and mic. During the 1980s, the family band, “Selena y Los Dinos,” gained popularity across the Texas/Mexico border and eventually across the globe.

Though “Selena y Los Dinos” struggled at first, with Selena often facing gender discrimination in a male-dominated genre, they played at several restaurants, quinceañeras and festivals they could book.

In 1986, Selena won the prestigious Tejano Music Award for “Female Vocalist of the Year” and earned her first mega milestone.

Her first album, “Selena,” remained at the top of the Billboard charts and in 1993, the “Queen of Tejano” won a Grammy for the best Mexican/American album of the year. According to Google, she was the first female and youngest Tejano artist to win.

What is Tejano music?

Selena is often considered the “Queen of Tejano.” Tejano music (or “Tex-Mex”) blends Mexican and American music genres. According to the Google doodle, that combines genres like pop, polka, ranchera and cumbia.

» RELATED: Is Atlanta one of the best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs?

Selena Quintanilla’s top five biggest hits

  1. “Como La Flor” from “Entre a Mi Mundo” (1992)
  2. “Amor Prohibido” from “Amor Prohibido” (1994
  3. “I Could Fall in Love” from “Dreaming of You” (1995)
  4. “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” from “Amor Prohibido” (1994)
  5. “No Me Queda Mas” from “Amor Prohibido” (1994)

More hits at Latina.com.

Selena was more than just a celebrity to many, especially to the Latinx community.

Selena’s legacy is due to more than her powerful vocals, iconic dance moves and hypnotic stage energy.

She was a notable fashion icon of the time and played a big part in designing and creating her own performance wardrobe.

But in her free time, Selena was also a major advocate for education and often participated in community service.

“Most importantly,” Google Doodles Global Marketing Lead Perla Camps wrote, “Selena became a beacon of inspiration and hope for the Latinx, immigrant, and bicultural communities around the globe. Her story of embracing and celebrating all parts of her cultural heritage and persevering in the face of adversity forged an emotional connection with millions.”

» RELATED: Photos: Celebrities with Hispanic heritage

Camps, who is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant single mom living in a small and primarily white town in rural Texas, wrote she was “profoundly influenced” by Selena and her music.

“One of my dearest childhood memories is of my mom and I belting “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and “Techno Cumbia” in the family van during our annual road trips to Mexico. I even sang Selena classics in talent shows across northeast Texas,” Camps wrote. “Watching her showed me that this hybrid cultural identity of mine was a valuable gift I should embrace. Watching her made me proud of being Mexicana.”

» RELATED: 'Queen of Tejano' Selena to receive star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

How did Selena die?

Selena Quintanilla’s life came to a tragic end when Yolanda Saldivar, the founder of the Selena fan club, shot her on March 31, 1995, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Selena was 23.

Saldivar, who had been managing the singer’s San Antonio, Texas boutique, was caught embezzling money and was about to be fired.

Selena’s murder shocked the Latinx community, but her legacy would live on for decades.

10 interesting facts about Selena

1. In the beginning of their family band career, her father, Abraham, made stage lights out of empty peach cans.

2. She dropped out of school to get her GED so that she could perform full time and support her family.

3. She had five dogs and a python.

4. Her siblings A.B. and Suzette weren’t huge fans of performing.

5. Two weeks after her unexpected death, George W. Bush, then governor of Texas, declared April 16 “Selena Day” in Texas. April 16 was her birthday

6. Her last words were “Yolanda Saldivar, in room 158.”

7. An estimated 100,000 people showed up to Selena’s public viewing, which was held at the convention center in Corpus Christi, Texas.

8. She married the band’s lead guitarist, Chris Perez, in 1992.

9. Her life story is the subject of the 1997 film, “Selena” starring Jennifer Lopez as the “Queen of Tejano.”

10. She called her tour bus “Big Bertha.”

 

Sources: Latin TimesSelena Quintanilla Perez (Weebly) and Biography.com.

Explore more about Selena Quintanilla on Google’s Arts & Culture hub.


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