Earlier this month, Selena Quintanilla-Pérez—known as the pop star Selena—received a posthumous star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, 22 years after her death. She had just completed her first album in English when she was shot and killed on March 31, 1995 at the age of 23 by her fan club founder, Yolanda Saldivar.
1. She Supported Her Family Through Singing
Selena was born on April 16, 1971 in Lake Jackson, Texas and would be 46 years old if she were alive today.
Selena’s father saw his daughter’s talents when she was just six years old and would bring her to perform at the family’s restaurant. When the restaurant closed in the 1980s, Selena was often the family’s breadwinner, dropping out of school to make money through her music. She later earned her high school diploma through correspondence studies.
Her early performances in the Houston area often featured country music. She later began to focus on the musical style called Tejano, which reflected the diversity of the influences in Mexican-American culture at the time. She performed in a group called Selena y Los Dinos, along with family members and her future husband, Chris Perez, according to Entertainment Tonight.
2. Selena’s Final Album Broke Mariah Carey’s Sales Records
“Dreaming of You” was her fifth and final album and it was released after her death. The album sold 175,000 copies on its first day of release in the U.S., which, at the time, was a record for a female vocalist. The album eventually sold more than 5 million copies and surpassed even Mariah Carey’s sales records.
Check out the music video to the title track on the album, which was also released after Selena’s death:
3. Selena Gomez Is Named After The Late Singer
Pop star Selena Gomez was born in 1998, three years after the singer’s death. Her parents were both huge fans of Selena, so they chose to name their daughter after the star.
“My parent’s loved Selena’s music. So, they just named me after her,” she told Sacramento’s NOW 100.5. “I grew up and I went to her grave, I got to go to her house. It was really crazy. And then when I started working, I remember I got to meet her family and I just got super emotional.”
4. Selena’s Murderer Remains In Prison With A Life Sentence
Following Selena’s death, her murderer Yolanda Saldivar was sentenced to life in prison, where she currently remains. According to the San Antonio Current, she has filed multiple appeals, all of which have been unsuccessful.
Saldivar will be eligible for parole in 2025, but given the passion of Selena’s fans, she may be safer in prison, where she is allegedly in solitary confinement for her own safety, TMZ reported. In fact, Selena’s father said he believes prison might be easier for her to deal with than the outside world.
5. Texas Celebrates ‘Selena Day’ On April 16
Shortly after Selena’s death, then-governor of Texas (and future president) George W. Bush declared her birthday, April 16, to be “Selena Day” in the Lone Star State.
There is also a memorial to her in Corpus Christi, Texas, where she was murdered by Salizar at a Days Inn, and an annual two-day festival called Fiesta de la Flor that celebrates her life and legacy. Even two decades after Selena’s death, the festival attracts thousands of fans.
Aside from her recent addition to the Walk of Fame, Google also dedicated their Google Doodle to her this October, marking the anniversary of the release of her debut album in 1989.
You could also watch the 1997 movie about her life starring Jennifer Lopez. Here’s the trailer of the film below:
And just because, here’s my all time favorite Selena song, “I Could Fall In Love.” The song was also on the album “Dreaming Of You” and was released after her death: