Fotos y Recuerdos…Besos, Selena

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic passing of Tejano superstar, Selena Quintanilla Perez, or for all us Millennial Latinas, simply know as a Selena, La Reina. I started the day like I usually do, going down memory lane and listening to all the best Selena jams while at work. There was this great social media campaign running this year, tons of women across the globe styled our lips in Selena’s signature Red shade, then posted a pic of our perfect pout with the hash-tag #RedForSelena As the day wore on I was getting ready to go meet a colleague for lunch, and as I walked out of the office my assistant made a comment about why I was all made up (usually I wear little to no makeup at work) so I started to explain the social media movement and what Selena meant to me. It was a that moment, the weirdest thing happened…I started to get all choked up about it. I told her the story of how Selena forever changed my life. As a little girl, kids always picked on me for various reasons, being too tall, being the bigger one in the group, etc…but the thing that kids picked on me THE MOST was because I had fuller lips. I remember one slumber party there was a picture drawn of me, and although I never saw it, I remember other girls telling me that it was a picture of me with exaggerating lips…on another occasion I remember, same said person, passing a picture around class of me with some drawing of my face and the lips embellished with really derogatory writing on it. At the time, I really didn’t know what all that meant, and I didn’t understand why I was being picked on, I didn’t even realize I was flawed in their eyes… and such was life …

my instagram @yolitzmagik

 

Then Selena hit the scene (actually she played many gigs in my hometown of El Paso in her early years.) As her star rose, she redefined what beauty was. All of a sudden, the whole world wanted to look “exotic” and instantly, almost over-night, full lips were ALL the rage. Everyone began to covet her signature pout and as if by magic, the world stopped picking on me and declared that I too, was now pretty. I remember being so proud every time someone told me that I looked like “that singer” Finally, we had someone that looked like us AND she was on TV AND she was famous AND she was from Texas AND Mexican-American! Selena was everything. The whole world was drawn in by her music, her style, her laughter and her love, a charisma that crossed all barriers. I could happily go on and on about the fashion icon she was, what was my favorite song, her epic Houston concert, her untimely death… but this entry was about my personal connection to Selena, this is about the legacy she has left, the imprint that remains on my heart and on the hearts of many.

It wasn’t until I was standing there telling my assistant what she [Selena] meant to me, how she helped form my ideas on beauty and my self image…that I actually began to cry a little. The emotions just overcame me, I realized that had she not given me the that little boost during those critical pre-teen years, I really don’t think I would be the strong Latina that I am today. I was able to proudly face the world, but only because she had already begun to cut through the weeds, paving the way for the rest of us. Looking back on 20 years I can’t imagine where we would be, as women of color, had Selena not left her mark on the world. On behalf of all Latinas, everywhere…Thank you Selena…

 

 

 

 

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