5 Takeaways Students Should Learn About Selena’s Life and Career

March 31st marked 27 years since the Queen of Tejano music was taken from us. Selena Quintanilla was an iconic figure in the 90s and she is still revolutionary today. Her spirit of authenticity left a legacy and everything she represented as a Mexican-American woman continues to connect with Latinxs everywhere. Selena is not only a figure in pop culture, but she is a part of the history of Latinxs in this country and young people deserve to know about her! So, here are 5 takeaways our students can learn about Selena’s life and career:

  1. You can follow multiple dreams

We all know Selena, the singer/ songwriter, but do you know fashion designer and entrepreneur Selena? She was notorious for making her own performance outfits and, a year before her death in 1994, Selena actually opened two boutiques in Texas. She loved fashion, she had a vision, and she made it happen, despite her already successful career in music.

  1. Love the skin you’re in

As a curvy, Brown, Latina with indigenous features, Selena never shied away from her look in the public… and this was during a time when white, thin beauty standards were at their peak. She promoted a form of body positivity that meant a lot to people who looked like her. 

  1. Be your authentic self

Selena made her career by being a Spanish-singing artist, but she was open about the fact that she didn’t grow up speaking Spanish. And while she didn’t feel entirely Mexican, she also didn’t feel American… she fell somewhere in the middle, as many of us do! Although her English album was left unfinished before her death, she fought her entire career for that album. Selena wanted to make a mark in the English genre because it was as much a part of her as Tejano music was. 

  1. Connect with your roots

Just because Selena didn’t speak Spanish early in her career, doesn’t mean it wasn’t important to her to learn! What was most special about Selena is that she knew her audience. She wanted to talk to them and connect. She wanted to feel closer to her fans, but also to her people. Selena learned Spanish with so much grace and, in no time, started doing interviews in Spanish. 

  1. It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice

This is probably the biggest lesson our students can learn from the queen. Despite her fame, Selena never stopped being kind and relatable to people. Her fans didn’t only love her because she was a star, but because she was one of them. 

Comadres, what other pop culture icons should our students be learning about?

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Nataly Gonzalez

Nataly Gonzalez

Nataly is a writer and creative from the San Fernando Valley- shout out to the 818. As the daughter of immigrants from Guatemala and Mexico, she’s passionate about telling Latinx stories. Nataly is a proud alumna of UC Berkeley’s Ethnic Studies Department and UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television. When she isn’t writing, you can find her dog momming, hiking, eating, or dipping her toes into any body of water she can lay her hands on.

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