It has been 20 years since the music world lost Tejano superstar Selena, but devotion to the singer runs deep in Texas, especially on the anniversary of her death.
At KNON 89.3-FM in Dallas, the requests for Selena come in daily.
“If we don’t play it for a whole show, folks will call up and ask us to play some Selena,” said radio disc jockey Jesse Gonzales.
Gonzales was 13 years old when the “Queen of Tejano” was murdered inside a Corpus Christi hotel on March 31, 1995. He had just seen her perform in Oak Cliff months before.
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“She always put on a show,” said Gonzales. “She never just sang to you. She made sure you were part of what she was doing.”
Selena's death at the hands of her fan club president, Yolanda Saldivar, sent shock waves through the Latino community. Cars with ribbons and messages of mourning could be seen driving across North Texas following her death in 1995.
Twenty years later, the sorrow has turned to celebration. Parties in Oak Cliff over the weekend honored her life, and the movie version of her life story played at the Texas Theatre. The celebrations were attended by fans of all ages – including many young people who were not alive at the time of Selena’s death.
Gonzales said that’s because her soulful sound remains relevant.
“She spoke to us, our culture, who we are,” said Gonzales. “Everything that is going on in her music back then is still going on in our communities today. Our people are still going through the same things that they’ve been going through for the last 20 years.”
Saldivar is serving a life sentence in the singer's death.