In some households, every day is Selena day. But thanks to a bill reintroduced Thursday by state Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos, April 16 might officially be designated as “Selena Day,” honoring the late Texan music star Selena Quintanilla.
Quintanilla was killed by her employee Yolanda Saldívar on March 31, 1995. Even though she was a mere 23 years old at the time of her death, her contributions to Tejano music had already yielded a Grammy and 14 Billboard Latin Music Awards.
The proposed date for the holiday, April 16, was the singer’s birthday. She would’ve turned 50 this year.
Two weeks after Quintanilla’s death in 1995, future President and then-Gov. George W. Bush declared Quintanilla's birthday Selena Day in Texas. Ramos first introduced the bill in Feb. 2019, with the goal to make “Selena Day” an annual event celebrating her role in Texas culture.
“April 16 is Selena Quintanilla Perez Day in memory of the contributions to Tejano music of Selena Quintanilla Pérez, an award-winning singer and recording artist,” the proposed bill stated. “Selena Quintanilla Peréz Day may be regularly observed by appropriate ceremonies and activities.”
Ramos is a Democrat from Dallas County's District 102, which includes Addison, Richardson, Dallas and Garland. She could not be reached for comment.
“Selena was an inspiration to the Hispanic community and to all of the state of Texas,” Ramos told Texas Monthly in a February 2019 article.
The singer’s crossover legacy continues to reach new audiences; the biographical series Selena: The Series became a Netflix hit after it premiered in December, and a new podcast that premiered Jan. 13 on WBUR and Futuro Media, Anything for Selena, examines her life and reign as the “Queen of Tejano music” through nine episodes.
Legions of Selena fans gather yearly (in non-pandemic times) at events such as the Fiesta de la Flor music festival, which honors the legend in her native Corpus Christi, while Dallas held its own three-day festival honoring Quintanilla in 2019, in addition to yearly tributes and events.
Selena remains a much-celebrated figure in North Texas; her hits are a staple of dance clubs, and she's the subject of murals such as a large rendition in Oak Cliff by artist Jeremy Biggers.
Dallas singer Sudie, who often plays Selena songs in her sets as a DJ, calls the bill a “brilliant idea.”
“Selena was introduced to me at a very young age and has always been close to my heart,” Sudie says. "She’s an icon. I took her everywhere with me even when I lived overseas. I shared her story and music with everyone around me every chance I could. She has one of my favorite voices, smiles and character of all time.”
Jacks Haupt, a rising singer-songwriter from Dallas, says she learned an invaluable lesson from Quintanilla: "She taught me 'You're too Mexican for the Americans and you’re too American for the Mexicans — you gotta be better and both.”
"Selena Quintanilla was and is still an icon for young Chicano artists," Haupt says. "She was a beautiful symbolic woman. She was a big inspiration to me especially because she made this possible as a Mexican American woman in the American industry, and on top of that she expressed her own self from what she was: her true race, her true background colors."
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