Selena: The Image of Latin Influence

Selena’s Legacy embodies the importance of representation and her influence is found in numerous artists

25 years ago, the world lost a blue-moon talent, a family lost their sister, daughter, and wife, and a beautiful woman lost her life. Selena Quintanilla-Perez was a beloved, rising star before her time, and even decades after her death, her legacy still shines brighter than a supernova.

Known as the “Queen of Tejano,” Selena revolutionized a genre and broke boundaries like no other, especially for the Mexican-American community. For nine years running, she won “Best Female Vocalist” at the Tejano Music Awards. She became the first Latino singer to debut at the number one spot on the U.S. Billboard Top 200, and her album Amor Prohibido, was the best-selling Latin album of all time. On top of her musical success, Selena also had a growing success in fashion. However, Selena’s prosperity cannot be tallied through awards and accolades. Her outwardly spoken love of her heritage and upbringing tied in with her musical recognition is the epitome of the important of representation and the power of Latino pride. This is where her success rises, because it is found in her influence on her people and their success.

“Aside from portraying our world through a realistic lens, representation in media also allows those belonging in minority and marginalized groups to feel validated for who they are.”

Selena was an artist for the people. Her legacy lives on through them, and it is because of her representation that so many current and up-and-coming artists have been influenced and given the confidence to feel that they can dream big and make it happen. Many artists like Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Becky G, and more have been open about the impact and admiration they share for Selena. Here are just a few artists of different outlets who were touched by Selena and her success.

Adrienne Bailon

Adrienne Bailon
Image courtesy of BET

Adrienne Bailon is well-known for her rising success in the group 3LW, and then later on in the Disney Channel films, The Cheetah Girls. Personally, her work on those films was influential in my own childhood. She is now a co-host on the daytime talk show, The Real. Bailon has noted that Selena is the woman she considers her own idol and who made her who she is today.

Jackie Cruz

Jackie Cruz
Image courtesy of InTouch

Orange is the New Black actress, Jackie Cruz (“Flaca”) has been vocal about Latinx represenation in Hollywood, as well as her own upbringing by her mother who was an immigrant. She released a cover of “Como La Flor” in tribute to Selena, and she has spoken about how Selena is one of her own idols. Jackie, herself, is a beacon of influence in her own right. Speaking from her own Latin heritage as well as being outward about her sexuality, she shows the importance of generational representation.

Becky G

Becky G
Image courtesy of Hola USA

Becky G is a Mexican-American singer and songwriter from California. She has garnered success on both Latin and American charts, and she has been a rising star on many fronts. Some of her greatest hits include “Mayores,” which hit number three on the Billboard Latin charts, “Shower” and “Sin Pijama.” Recently Becky G spoke about the 25th anniversary of Selena’s death, her success, and her impact on her own career in a heartwarming Instagram post. She did so on the 20th anniversary, as well. She has continuously been vocal about the importance of Selena’s career and the reach it has.

Kat DeLuna

Kat Deluna
Image courtesy of Billboard

Kat DeLuna’s well-known hit “Whine Up” dominated and defined I’m sure more than my own adolescence. The song was a huge commercial success, and it continues to be a party and all-around classic. She has continued her career in the music industry, recently releasing her new single back in May 2019. She has been open throughout her career about the influence Selena had on her life as being her idol.

“She gave me an Identity in the media, and she gave me a person I could be. i could listen to spanish music while also being able to speak english. She existed in this in-between and that’s how i felt.”

Nathian Shae Rodriguez on Selena (cnn)

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez
Image courtesy of ABC

Selena Gomez has been influential in the childhoods of many men and women around the globe. From the moment she debuted on the television show Wizards of Waverly Place on Disney Channel, her career skyrocketed into super stardom. Not only because of her talents, but her sincerity and honesty about her life have been contributing factors to her success and adoration. Selena has been very vocal about her love for Selena- whom she says she was actually named after. Along with talking about her influence on her upbringing, Gomez has also performed Selena’s songs on tour, as well as recorded a duet version of the song “Enamorada De Ti” on the 2012 tribute album.

Jennifer Pena

Jennifer Pena
Image courtesy of IMDB

Jennifer Pena is a Texas native herself, growing up in Corpus Christi- the same hometown as Selena. She gained wide recognition during her performance at the Houston Astrodome, during a tribute performance for Selena. She was also under Q Management with Selena’s father. She has always been vocal about Selena’s own career influencing her wanting to become a singer and becoming a Tejano/Latin Pop singer. Since then, she has gained multiple Grammy nominations and has sold millions of records worldwide.

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez
Image courtesy of WireImage

There’s no doubt that J-Lo has achieved monumental success- from her musical to her acting and executive career. Whether you loved her or not, you knew of J-Lo’s rising career, heard her music, or seen her in some well-known rom-coms. In my own childhood, I adored singing her music during karaoke with my family, and I wanted to be like her when I grew up. I’m definitely not a singer, but there’s no doubt she influenced my life. She admittedly owes much of her success to Selena, whom she has paid tribute to numerous times, and she has even considered Selena her own mentor in life. J-Lo played Selena in the 1997 biopic, which she has named as the catalyst in her career.

Eva Longoria

Eva Longoria
Image courtesy of GulfNews

Eva Longoria is a notable and loved actress throughout Hollywood. Her work on Desperate Housewives and The Young and the Restless earned her many Golden Globe and SAG nominations through the years. When Longoria received her Hollywood Walk of Fame star back in 2016, she dedicated much of her success of Selena. Also being born in Corpus Christi TX, she stated that Selena gave her the confidence to “dare to dream bigger.”

Cristela Alonzo

Cristela Alonzo
Image courtesy of

Born in San Juan, TX to Mexican-immigrant parents, Cristela Alonzo has gained wide recognition for her work on the show Cristela– the first ever CBS show that was created, written, and starred by a Latina woman. Cristela has talked openly about the importance of representation and how it was Selena’s representation in the media that influenced her career and the entire Mexican-American community. Since her comedic and television success, Alonzo has been outspoken on political issues of immigration and healthcare, becoming an image of influence herself.

Representation in the media continues to be the catalyst in the careers and motivation of young minorities around the world. For this, and because of her astounding talent and beauty, Selena’s legacy will never fizzle nor die. She is a star that will shine forever because of what she means to the people who love her.

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