Selena (Mexican-American cumbia tejano singer)
Legal name: Selena Quintanilla-Pérez
Selena Quintanilla-Pérez (April 16, 1971 – March 31, 1995), known by the mononym Selena, was an American singer, songwriter, spokesperson, actress, and fashion designer. Called the Queen of Tejano music, her contributions to music and fashion made her one of the most celebrated Mexican American entertainers of the late 20th century. Billboard magazine named her the "top Latin artist of the '90s", the "best selling Latin artist of the decade". She is often called the "Mexican American equivalent" of Madonna for her clothing choices, by media outlets. She also ranks among the most influential Latin artists of all-time and is credited for catapulting a music genre into mainstream.
The youngest child of the Quintanilla family, she debuted on the music scene in 1980 as a member of the band Selena y Los Dinos, which also included her elder siblings A.B. Quintanilla and Suzette Quintanilla. Selena began recording professionally in 1982. In the 1980s, she was often criticized and was refused bookings at venues across Texas for performing Tejano music—a male-dominated music genre. However, her popularity grew after she won the Tejano Music Award for Female Vocalist of the Year in 1986, which she won nine consecutive times. Selena signed with Capitol EMI Latin in 1989 and released her self-titled debut album the same year, while her brother became her principal music producer and songwriter. Her 1990 album Ven Conmigo was the first recording by a female Tejano artist to achieve gold status by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Selena released Entre a Mi Mundo (1992), which peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard Regional Mexican Albums chart for eight consecutive months. The album's commercial success led music critics to call the album the "breakthrough" recording of her musical career. One of its singles, "Como La Flor", became one of her most popular signature songs. Live! (1993) won Best Mexican/American Album at the 1994 Grammy Awards, becoming the first recording by a Tejano artist to do so. In 1994, Selena released Amor Prohibido, which became one of the best-selling Latin albums in the United States. It was critically acclaimed as being responsible for Tejano music's first marketable era as it became one of the most popular Latin music subgenres at the time. Selena began recording English-language songs for her crossover album.
Aside from music, Selena was active in her community and donated her time to civic causes. Coca-Cola appointed her its spokesperson in Texas. Selena became a sex icon; she was often criticized for wearing suggestive outfits in light of her comments about being a role model for young women. Selena and her guitarist, Chris Pérez, eloped in April 1992 after her father raised concerns over their relationship. On March 31, 1995, Selena was shot dead by Yolanda Saldívar, her friend and former employee of her Selena Etc. boutiques. Hispanics reacted negatively to the news of her death, which was compared to the reactions following the deaths of John Lennon, Elvis Presley, and U.S. president John F. Kennedy. Her posthumous crossover album, Dreaming of You (1995), debuted atop the Billboard 200, making Selena the first Latin artist to accomplish this feat. Two weeks after her death, George W. Bush—governor of Texas at the time—declared her birthday Selena Day in Texas. In 1997, Warner Bros. released Selena, a film about her life and career, which starred Jennifer Lopez as Selena. As of 2012, Selena has sold over 60 million albums worldwide.