You know how some girls were obsessed with Menudo, New Kids on the Block, and then Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync, well that’s how much I loved Selena. It’s quite unlike me to say this because I’ve never been the groupie type or the teenager who put up posters on her wall and chased artists around for an autograph. I don’t even like to take pictures with famous people and never even once considered doing so during my years on TV and in the music industry, but I know that I would have totally freaked out had I met Selena in person.
She seemed like the real deal, like what you see is what you get.
It was 1994 and I was in Cuba when the music video for her song Amor Prohibido started being televised. She was one of the very few U.S.-based artists that were allowed on-air at that time by the Cuban government. I had never heard of her before, but when I heard that song it was an instant connection. We were so far away from each other, yet it felt like I knew her when I listened to her music.
We did not have a TV at home so I would sneak into my neighbor’s house at night when I knew they would play her videos. Then a few months later we received the good news that we were leaving to the U.S. and then I thought, wow, now I do have a shot at seeing her sing live and perhaps meeting her one day.
I was such a fan of hers that I not only knew every one of her songs, but I also learned the choreographies and my neighbors would ask me to imitate her. And I loved it.
But the same year we were meant to come to the U.S. she died. I remember it vividly because it was on the same day as my grandmother’s birthday and because it was all over the news in Cuba. I couldn’t believe it. All of this time imitating her and loving her music had made it feel as if she was part of my family.
I was nine back then; a little girl in awe that could not believe that someone could have done this to her idol. Several months later we arrived at this country and I started collecting her CDs, posters and magazines with her pictures. As far as the movie, I’ve watched it at least 5 times.
It was a tragic ending to such a beautiful soul. Yes, I loved her music, but I also loved her authenticity, her smile, and her humbleness equally as much.
Many years have passed and I still play some of her videos on Youtube here and there. I like to do it when my daughters are around so that I can tell them that she is one of the greatest Latina entertainers of all time, the queen of cumbia and Tejano music, one of the best Latina artists of her generation.
I leave you with one of my favorite music videos from Selena. ¡Un abrazo hasta el cielo!
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