Selena’s music still inspires 20 years after her tragic death

Helena mug

By Helena Rodriguez

CMI Columnist

It’s hard to believe it has been 20 years since the sensational death of Tejano and pop music star, Selena.

Two decades and 60 million albums later, this once unknown singer who performed at the Boot Hill in Clovis in 1994 has become iconic.

March 31 will make the 20th anniversary of the death of Selena, who was tragically killed by her fan club president in 1995 in Corpus Christi, Texas.

I remember the infamous day. It was one of those “where-were-you-when-the-world-stopped-turning” days.

You see, I was a Selena fan before millions of Americans knew who Selena was. I regretted not going to see her perform live in Clovis at the old Boot Hill in 1994. And I regret not going to see her perform at the old La Mulita Ballroom in Muleshoe in the late 1980s. I always thought there would be another time.

When I graduated from Eastern New Mexico University in 1989 and got my first newspaper job in Odessa, Texas, my then boyfriend was excited about going to see Selena. I knew who Selena was. I had purchased some of her cassettes, which I listened to over and over while studying for my college exams. I would play “Coma la Flor,” “Desde de Enero,” and the rockin “No Quiero Saber” over and over.

When the breaking news story hit the media on that March 31, I was working at the Muleshoe Journal. We didn’t have a TV in the newsroom. My dad called me at work and broke the news to me. I had to go out to my car to listen to this shocking story unfold. The tragic tale of a young girl with a sassy but sophisticated and exotic Mexican American look whose promising career was cut short.

The powerful Mexican American voice who was living the American Dream and, I would argue, would have still become a household name had she not died so soon. Despite her untimely death, the phenomenal record sales, movie, souvenirs and legacy have immortalized her.

Helena Rodriguez is a Portales native. Contact her at:
Helena-Rodriguez@hotmail.com

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