aria-label="Image credit"> 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.

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