The Life and Development of Singer Selena Quintanilla in Film “Selena”

The film “Selena” was written and directed by Gregory Nava in 1997. This is a film about dreams and family. We are taken inside Selena Quintanilla Perez's short lifetime and her desire to make it as a major American singer. Throughout the film we see the life of Selena, how she rose so quickly to fame, and finally how her career was tragically cut short. We see her rise from a little girl with a dream to a mature singer who seized stardom and was not intimidated by it. Best, we see her overcoming cultural prejudices. I believe that Gregory Nava directed this movie for all of Selena's mourning fans. For her fans to get a sense of closure after her tragic death. Nava wanted the world to know how talented and loved Selena was.

Selena (Jennifer Lopez) grew up in a close, tight-knit, loving family. At first, “Selena y Los Dinos” was a way to get the family together to have fun and make all kinds of music. This band was originally started by her father, Abraham ( Edward James Olmos), and of course Selena’s brother and sister. Selena’s sister Susie ( Jackie Guerra) played the drums, and her brother Abie (Jacob Vargas) played the guitar. The band started receiving more attention. This allowed them to start touring to school dances, and county fairs. During this time period, the Quintanilla family opened up their own restaurant to help book the band some decent gigs.

We learn early on in the film that Selena’s father wanted her to learn to sing Tejano music so she would not receive negative feedback like he did. In the beginning of the film, we are shown that Abraham and his band are booed off stage because he sang in English to a Hispanic crowd. Abraham wanted differently for Selena. At a very young age, he and his wife started teaching Selena about her diversity and where she came from. This was very vital in Selena's future success as a Mexican- American singer. During the film, there is a scene where Selena gets invited to a press conference in Mexico. Selena and her family were very nervous because they had to “ be more Mexican than the Mexicans.” Abraham did not want Selena to mess up this opportunity. Initially, Selena did very well at this press conference. This movie focuses mainly on Selena learning different things about her culture. It took an extended period of time for Selena to feel comfortable within herself and her culture. Once she embraced who she really was she had so many more fans by her side supporting her and loving her every step of the way. This would make her a multi-platinum-selling artist at the age of only 24.

While Selena was extremely popular during this time in her life, she had much more going on in her personal life. She began secretly dating a young man by the name of Chris Perez (Jon Seda). We see in the movie that at first, her father is not a fan of Chris, and eventually kicks him out of the band for continuing to see Selena. Selena was extremely heartbroken and upset with her father's actions. We see in one scene during the film where Marcela ( Constance Marie) has a heart-to-heart with her daughter. Marcela is trying to explain that Abraham only wants the best for Selena. He feels that Chris is a “bad influence” and will “derail” her career. Selena was very much in love with Chris and felt that he was the one for her despite her father’s wishes. On April 2nd, 1992 Chris and Selena eloped in Corpus Christi, Texas. Shortly after, news broke that she had eloped. Her father was disappointed that she felt she had to get married in secrecy. When Selena returned home, Abraham spoke with Selena. Ultimately, her father just wanted Selena to be happy.

Also during this time period, Selena encountered a woman by the name of Yolanda Saldivar ( Lupe Ontiveros). Selena had an extraordinary amount of fans. Yolanda was a super fan. She loved Selena so much, that she ended up starting a fan club for Selena; she became president of this fan club as well. Yolanda and Selena spent many years together and became very close. Selena considered Yolanda as her best friend. Yolanda became so close with the Quintanilla family that she began to handle the Quintanilla’s finances. One day, Abraham had looked over the bills and noticed there was money missing. He believed the Yolanda had been stealing from them for months. He proceeded to inform Selena of the situation, but Selena was in denial. Selena had the biggest heart and always saw the good in everyone. She never wanted to see the bad. She could not believe her best friend could do something like this. However, Chris and Selena proceeded to visit Yolanda to retrieve the missing documents she had taken. Yolanda did not give Selena all the missing documents. The next day, Selena and Saldivar met secretly at Saldivar's motel room. She was staying at the Days Inn motel in room 158. When Selena continually asked Saldivar for the documents and Saldivar kept declining Selena tried to leave. When Selena tried to leave Yolanda shot her in the back. Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was murdered in Corpus Christi, Texas on March 31, 1995. She was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead shortly at 1:05 p.m. Saldivar felt completely guilty once she found out Selena had been pronounced dead. She threatened suicide for nine hours. Police were finally able to calm her down, and she surrendered. Fans were completely distraught, in denial, and heartbroken. Their idol had just been passed away, tragically. Many attended her funeral.

Ultimately, this movie is about dreams, family, and a precious gifted life has taken to soon. Selena was an icon back then, and still today. Many fans still listen to her music. She wanted to make her mark on this world, and be remembered. She succeeded.    

07 July 2022
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