Selena Quintanilla-Pérez's Spark Still Shines : Alt.Latino We sat down with the director of Selena, an author, a college professor and the creator of the wildly popular Anything for Selena podcast to talk Selena's legacy. Touching on topics from maintaining her Tejano roots to what they imagine would have been her Latin Trap collab with Bad Bunny, these experts had us feeling all kinds of Selena energy and love in the room.

Selena's Spark Still Shines

Selena's Spark Still Shines

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Fans paying tribute to Selena in Texas. Jana Birchum/Getty Images hide caption

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Jana Birchum/Getty Images

Fans paying tribute to Selena in Texas.

Jana Birchum/Getty Images

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez would have turned 50 on April 16. Since her death in 1995, just before her 25th birthday, her legacy has spread far beyond her Tejano music roots; Selena's has become an important symbol of womanhood for Latinas everywhere.

On this week's show, we're going to try to unpack that a little with some stellar guests:

  • filmmaker Gregory Nava, whose 1997 biopic Selena, starring Jennifer Lopez, has played a key role in the Selena myth building
  • journalist Maria Garcia, who is the creator and host of the podcast Anything For Selena, produced by Futuro productions and NPR member station WBUR
  • Dr. Sonya Aleman, who teaches a class on Selena in her role as Associate Professor in the Mexican American Studies Program at the University of Texas, San Antonio
  • Dr. Deborah Paredez, author of Selenidad: Selena, Latinos and The Performance of Memory, and is also the Director of Undergraduate Studies at The Center for Sturdies of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University.

On a personal note, I remember seeing Selena y Los Dinos perform in Fresno and, even then, she had a very loyal following that was not just attracted to the music but also to her presence, her essence. Selena had an undefinable special spark; it's fascinating to see it still shine all of these years later.