A Star is Born: A Symbol of Latina Pop Music

By Anna Hamling.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: July 30, 2015 $US5.00

Selena, a pop diva from Texas, was murdered by the president of her fan club, Yolanda Saldívar, on 31 March 1995. Instantly, she became a posthumous symbol, the object of adoration by many. A museum in honour of Selena was built in her native city of Corpus Christi, where Selena's monument graces the downtown area. The stage production Selena: A Musical Celebration of Her Life (2001), the film Selena (1997), and the television program Conversation with Academics about Selena (1999) explored her life and how she changed the perception of Latino music. Selena Live: The Last Concert, which included her famous hit “Como la Flor” (Like the Flower) was released as a DVD in 2003 in her memory. Who was Selena? Was she an icon, a celebrity when she was alive? How did her death contribute to the creation of her heroine status, and how did it influence adolescents on both sides of the US–Mexico border? In this paper, we define the characteristics of celebrities/icons/heroes, and examine their roles within popular culture in the 20th and 21st centuries. We focus on Selena's rise to fame in Tejano and Latino communities. We also examine the factors contributing to the sudden shift of Selena's celebrity status during her short life to her heroic status on both sides of the border after her death.

Keywords: Celebrity, Heroine, Selena, Latino Community

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, Volume 10, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.27-33. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: July 30, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 292.378KB)).

Dr. Anna Hamling

Senior Teaching Associate, Department of Culture and Language Studies, University of New Brunswick Fredericton, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada