Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 31, 1995- Murder of Selena

Selena, a Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter who gained worldwide fame as the lead vocalist of her family-oriented band Selena y Los Dinos and for her community involvement, was murdered by Yolanda Saldívar. Saldívar, Selena's former fan club president and clothing boutique manager, with whom she was breaking ties, persuaded the singer to meet with her secretly. Saldívar then shot and killed Selena, provoking massive public outcry from the Hispanic community. Saldívar claimed that in an attempt to end her own life she accidentally shot Selena, but the jury at her trial did not believe her; she was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The Hispanic community reacted negatively to the murder, naming the event "Black Friday". In the white community, some people did not think Selena's murder was a "big deal", prompting a backlash from her fans. Radio personality Howard Stern mocked Selena's mourners and funeral, spawning public boycotts from fans. Selena's murder reactions was compared to the deaths of John Lennon and Elvis Presley. Her funeral drew 60,000 mourners, while numerous tributes and memorials were held throughout the United States and Spanish-speaking countries. Selena's story had been documented on numerous biographical shows, series and talk shows worldwide. Her murder boosted the singer's popularity, and she became a household name in the United States, more popular than when she was alive. A law about carrying a concealed weapon was passed in Texas in the same year Selena was murdered. George W. Bush, who signed the bill, made 16 April Selena Day in Texas.

The posthumous album Dreaming of You (1995), a crossover attempt, helped Selena to become the second-fastest selling female artist, behind Janet Jackson. She was given two life-sized statues – one was built in Corpus Christi, Texas (Mirador de la Flor) while the other one was built in Apodaca, Nuevo León. Saldívar had claimed and accused Selena of multiple statements that she had tried to testify while serving her life sentence. In 1997, Warner Bros. produced Selena, the eponymous biographical film catapulted Jennifer Lopez' career. Two years later, the story of Selena inspired a Broadway musical which starred Veronica Vasquez as "Selena". In 2005, Selena ¡VIVE!, a tribute concert, was held on the tenth anniversary of Selena's murder. The concert was aired live on Univision; it went to become the most-watched Spanish-language show in the history of American television.

During the early 1990s, Selena became the "Queen of Tejano music" and was poised to become a successful American solo artist. Her fame grew throughout the U.S. and Spanish-speaking countries. To manage her growing group of admirers, Selena hired Saldívar as her fan club president. Before Selena was murdered, she had sold approximately 1.8 million albums in the U.S. At the time of her murder, Selena was recording songs for a crossover attempt, which was intended to catapult her success in the U.S. and expand her English-speaking fan base. Selena's goal was to become a pop icon similar to Donna Summer, Paula Abdul, Madonna and Mariah Carey

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