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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Avarice and greed cut short brutally the life of a famous singer !

A famous woman murdered by another woman, on this day – 26 years ago !  is the subject matter of this post

Many would have observed : - Selena Quintanilla was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2021 Grammys Sunday night (March 14), alongside Marilyn Horne, Salt-N-Pepa, Talking Heads, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, and Lionel Hampton. According to the Recording Academy’s description: “The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates performers who have made outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording.”  The late Queen of Tejano won the Grammy for best Mexican/Mexican American album for Live! in 1994, marking the first time a female Tejano artist had won in the category.

Corpus Christi is a coastal city in the South Texas region of the U.S. state of Texas and the county seat and largest city of Nueces County, it also extends into Aransas, Kleberg, and San Patricio Counties. It is 130 miles southeast of San Antonio.   This is no post on History or Geography but a famous woman murdered by another woman, her fan, which shocked the residents of this place  !!

Europeans from Germany (first during Spanish time and 1830s), Poland, and what is now the Czech Republic migrated to Texas and Mexico, bringing with them their style of music and dance. They brought with them the accordion, polkas music and dance. Their musical influence was to have the influence on Tejanos. Central to the evolution of early Tejano music was the blend of traditional forms such as the corrido and mariachi, and Continental European styles, such as polka introduced by Germany, Polish, and Czech settlers in the late 19th century.  In particular, the "accordion" was adopted by Tejano folk musicians at the turn of the 20th century, and it became a popular instrument for amateur musicians in Texas and Northern Mexico.  At the turn of the century, Tejanos were mostly involved in ranching and agriculture.

Tejano music, is a popular music style fusing Mexican, European, and U.S. influences.  With elements from Mexican-Spanish vocal traditions and Czech and German dance tunes and rhythms, particularly polka or waltz, the music is traditionally played by small groups featuring accordion and guitar.  It reached a much larger audience in the late 20th-century thanks to the explosive popularity of the artist Selena ("The Queen of Tejano"), and many others ! 

Sadly Selena’s life was too short-lived – she was only 24 when she was murdered. Selena Quintanilla-Pérez (April 16, 1971 – March 31, 1995) was an American singer, songwriter, spokesperson, businesswoman, model, actress, and fashion designer. Referred to as 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-selling Latin artist of the 1990s decade, while her posthumous collaboration with MAC cosmetics became the best-selling celebrity collection in cosmetics history.  She also ranks among the most influential Latin artists of all time and is credited for catapulting a music genre into the mainstream market.[7][8]

The youngest child of the Quintanilla family, she debuted on the music scene in 1981 as a member of the band Selena y Los Dinos, which also included her elder siblings A.B. Quintanilla and Suzette Quintanilla. She began recording professionally in 1981. 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 1987, which she won nine consecutive times. She signed with EMI Latin in 1989 and released her self-titled debut album the same year, while her brother became her principal music producer and songwriter.

Selena released Entre a Mi Mundo (1992), which peaked at number one on the US Billboard Regional Mexican Albums chart for eight consecutive months. The album's commercial success led music critics to call it 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 female Tejano artist to do so. In 1994, she 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.

.. at a time, when it appeared, her career graph was only one side – UP - Selena was shot and killed on March 31, 1995, 16 days before her 24th birthday, by Yolanda Saldívar, her friend and the former manager of her Selena Etc. boutiques. Saldívar was cornered by police when she attempted to flee, and threatened to kill herself, but was convinced to give herself up and was sentenced to life in prison with possible parole after 30 years. Two weeks later, Texas Governor (and future US President) George W. Bush declared Selena's birthday Selena Day in Texas. Her posthumous crossover album, Dreaming of You (1995), debuted atop the Billboard 200, making Selena the first Latin artist to accomplish this. In 1997, Warner Bros. released Selena, a film about her life and career, which starred Jennifer Lopez as Selena and Lupe Ontiveros as Saldívar. Selena has sold around 30 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling female artists in Latin music. 

Her father and manager, Abraham Quintanilla Jr, appointed Yolanda Saldívar  as president of Selena's fan club in 1991 after Saldívar had repeatedly asked permission to start one. In January 1994, Saldívar was promoted to manager of the singer's boutiques. Soon Selena's employees, fashion designer, and cousin began complaining about Saldívar's management style. In January 1995, Quintanilla Jr. began receiving telephone calls and letters from angry fans who had sent membership payments and had received nothing in return. He began investigating their complaints and found evidence that Saldívar had embezzled $60,000 from the fan club and the boutiques using forged checks. After the Quintanilla family confronted her about this on the morning of March 31, 1995, Saldívar bought a gun and fatally shot Selena. Although doctors tried to revive Selena, she was pronounced dead from loss of blood and cardiac arrest.

The Latino community was deeply affected by the news of Selena's death; some people traveled thousands of miles to visit her home, boutiques, and the crime scene, while churches with large congregations of Latinos held prayers in her name. All major television networks in the United States interrupted their regular programming to break the news. The public's reaction to Selena's death was compared to those that followed the deaths of John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, and John F. Kennedy. Some Americans who were unaware of the singer and her popularity criticized the attention she and her murder received from both the media and the Latino community.  On April 12, 1995—two weeks after her death—then-Texas governor George W. Bush declared her birthday Selena Day in Texas, offending some Americans because Selena Day that year coincided with Easter.


Yolanda Saldívar is an American former nurse and fan club president, murdered the singer    in Corpus Christi, Texas and will be eligible for parole on March 30, 2025.  In early 1995, Selena's family discovered that Saldívar was embezzling money from both the fan club and boutiques, which led to her firing in the first week of March.  On the morning of March 31, Selena agreed to meet Saldívar at a Days Inn motel in Corpus Christi  to retrieve financial records Saldívar had been refusing to turn over. Saldívar delayed the handover again by claiming she had been raped in Mexico.  Selena drove Saldívar to a local hospital, where they were told that the gynecological exam was to be done elsewhere, because the assault had allegedly happened in another country.  They returned to the motel, where Selena once more demanded the records.  Saldívar then took a .38 Taurus Model 85 revolver from her purse and pointed it at the singer. Selena tried to flee, but Saldívar shot her once in the back, severing an artery. Critically wounded, Selena ran towards the lobby for help; collapsed on the floor as the clerk called 911. She later died in a hospital from blood loss at 1:05 pm.

Saldívar's trial for the murder of Selena was followed closely by the Latino community in the United States. The trial was not televised, but cameras were permitted on the courthouse premises. The venue was moved to Houston, Texas, after Saldívar's lawyers successfully argued that she could not receive a fair trial in Selena's home town.  The defense attorney argued the shooting was accidental, but the prosecution pointed out that Saldívar, a trained nurse, did not call 911 nor try to help Selena after she was shot. Jurors deliberated for less than three hours on October 23, 1995, before finding Saldívar guilty of first-degree murder. Saldivar  was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in thirty years; this was the maximum prison term allowed in Texas at the time.  The convict  is serving a life sentence at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She will become eligible for parole on March 30, 2025.

The young Tejano musician Tejano did nothing wrong – rose to fame, but her life was curtailed by someone close to her, who in her avarice tried making money brutally murdering the blossoming artist.  Cruel method and sad end ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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