Remembering Selena: Cultura en Austin’s Top 2015 Moments

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Selena performs at Hemisfair Plaza in San Antonio, TX, April 24, 1994. Photo by Sung Park / The Austin American-Statesman
Selena performs at Hemisfair Plaza in San Antonio, TX, April 24, 1994. Photo by Sung Park / The Austin American-Statesman

Selena performs at Hemisfair Plaza in San Antonio, TX, April 24, 1994. Photo by Sung Park / The Austin American-Statesman

Austinites experienced many memorable cultural moments in 2015. We saw Paul Chávez, the son of civil rights and labor leader César Chávez, join the community in the annual citywide march in his father’s honor. We saw the Harry Ransom Center open the literary archive of Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez.

As a features reporter, I’m privileged to witness and write about many culturally significant events in Austin. From now through Dec. 31, I’ll share three of my favorite 2015 moments. All of them give a unique insight into Austin’s Latino community.

 A mural dedicated to Selena, the late Tejano star and cultural icon, is located along the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail in South Austin. (Tamir Kalifa for American-Statesman)


A mural dedicated to Selena, the late Tejano star and cultural icon, is located along the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail in South Austin. (Tamir Kalifa for American-Statesman)

Austin remembers Selena

When Tejano music star and pop culture icon Selena Quintanilla Pérez was shot in 1995, it changed Texas music forever. Like many Selena fans, I still remember the moment when I learned of the tragic news from a junior high school classmate in my hometown of Eagle Pass.

After reporting on the 20th anniversary of Selena’s death this March and seeing all the local tributes in her honor, it was clear to me that Selena’s music lives on not just among those who remember her, but also with new generations of Selena fans. Many of them weren’t even alive when Selena reached superstardom, but those fans will now help ensure that she won’t be forgotten.

I was fascinated to learn just how much Selena’s death influenced media and marketing. After People’s commemorative Selena issue sold out, the publication launched People en Español. Many other publications began noticing the untapped market as well, and magazines like Latina magazine soon launched. Texas Monthly put Selena on its cover, making it the first time that a Latina had been featured in that spot.

From festivals to tribute bands that honor her, Selena’s legacy continues to touch people from all walks of life.

 


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