On April 16, Selena Day, fans will put on their favorite Selena songs and remember the incredible impact the Tejano crooner had on music. Though she was fatally shot by the president of her fan club in 1995, the 23-year-old was able to accomplish some huge feats – from being credited with catapulting Latin music into the mainstream, to being one of the best-selling female artists in Latin music history. Her work spanned several genres of music, and many young people who weren’t even alive while she was active count her as one of their biggest musical inspirations. In October 2020, “Billboard” magazine named Selena the “Greatest of All Time Latin Artist” and, in late March 2021, the American Music Association named her album “Dreaming of You” as the greatest Latin album of all time. So let’s remember Selena today with celebrations of her life and some good Latin music!
When is Selena Day 2023?
We commemorate the music and legacy of the "Queen of Tejano music,” Selena Quintanilla Pérez on April 16.
History of Selena Day
Born April 16, 1971 in Texas, Selena was quickly noted by family members to have great pitch and rhythm. They say they knew from the start she would be a musician, and by age 10 she was the singer of her family’s band Selena Y Los Dinos – her sister Suzette played the drums and brother Abraham was on bass.
By 1984, Selena had recorded her first LP record, and played exclusively Tejano music despite wanting to sing in the English language. After being discovered by the founder of the Tejano music awards, Selena won the Female Vocalist of the Year award in 1987 – and for nine years running after that! She truly broke boundaries by becoming a wildly popular Latina woman in the Tejano music genre, which was heavily dominated by men. By 1988, she had released 5 more hit records.
Music wasn’t the only thing Selena has been remembered for. The singer debuted iconic fashion choices, from rhinestone belts to ruffled shirts, that earned her the title of “Mexican Madonna” and still inspire fashion and makeup lines today.
On March 31, 1995, 23-year-old Selena was shot by the president of her own fan club, at a Days Inn in her hometown of Corpus Christi. The woman who shot her had also managed the boutiques that Selena had established, which featured Selena merchandise, clothing, and full-service hair and nail salons. She had been embezzling money and shot the singer when confronted with having to provide financial records.
Not two weeks after her untimely death, then-Governor of Texas George W. Bush declared April 16, Selena’s birthday, Selena Day in Texas. She has since been honored with awards, statues, and even a Selena museum in Corpus Christi. Her posthumously-released album, “Dreaming of You,” sold over 175,000 copies on the day of its release, and “Selena” has even become one of the most popular names for newborn girls. Though her death happened decades ago, Selena remains one of the most celebrated Latina singers and a powerful force in Tejano music and culture.
Selena Day timeline
Around 40,000 fans came to Corpus Christi to the open-casket viewing of Selena, only a day after her death.
Two weeks after her untimely death, then-Governor of Texas George W. Bush declared Selena’s birthday, April 16, as Selena Day.
Over 20 years after her death, Selena is posthumously honored with the 2,622nd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2018, Netflix announced a new series on Selena’s life called Selena: The Series, to be aired in 2020.
Selena By The Numbers
1971 — the year Selena was born in Lake Jackson, Texas.
10 — the age when Selena became the lead singer in her family’s music band.
1994 — the year Selena won a Grammy for the best Mexican-American album for “Live.”
500 — the number of Faberge eggs Selena owned that are on display in a museum in Corpus Christi, Texas.
22,000 — the number of actresses who were screen tested to play Selena before Jennifer Lopez was selected for the 1997 movie “Selena.”
100,000 — the number of fans who attended Selena’s funeral.
23 — the age at which Selena died.
500,000 — the number of copies Selena’s 1990 album sold, achieving Gold record status.
7 — the number of Selena’s songs that hit No.1 on the Billboard 100.
14 — the number of Selena songs that hit the top 10 on the Hot Latin Songs Chart.
Selena Day FAQs
Is today Selena Quintanilla day?
If today is April 16, then throw on your favorite Selena tunes and celebrate Selena Day!
When did Selena die?
Selena died on March 31, 1995 after being shot by the president of her fan club. She was 23 years old.
What happened to Selena’s husband, Chris?
Widower and guitarist, Chris Perez, initially withdrew from the public eye after the death of his wife. However, after 20 years of mourning, Chris Perez is now back in the music scene, honoring his late wife’s contribution to the music scene.
How to Observe Selena Day
Watch a Selena biopic
Countless biographical and true crime films have sprung up since the singer’s untimely death in 1995. One of the most famous ones, Selena, stars Jennifer Lopez, and is credited with jump-starting her career. There was also a Broadway-bound play on Selena’s life, which debuted in 2000, called “Selena Forever.” Additionally, at least eight true crime documentaries or episodes have been produced starring her story.
Support Latinx musicians
Part of what made Selena’s life so remarkable was the path the path she carved for other Latina artists, particularly. She is often credited with bringing Latin music into the mainstream, and a great way to honor her on her birthday and Selena Day is to listen to and promote your favorite Latinx artists.
Blast Selena’s greatest hits
Some of Selena’s most successful songs, “Como La Flor,” “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” “Si Una Vez,” and “Dreaming of You,” are still popular today - for a reason! Jam out to some of her music and check out a YouTube video to learn her iconic accompanying dance moves.
5 Stunning Selena Facts
Although Selena did not often write her own songs, she made sure to include elements of Latin pop, R&B, country, disco, and techno pop into her tunes.
Selena, who was influenced by singers including Madonna, Janet Jackson, and Paula Abdul, was often called the “Mexican Madonna” due to her clothing choices and dance moves.
A Texas treasure
The Queen of Tejano Music is honored with the Selena Museum in her hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas. It’s filled with memorabilia, from her stage costumes to Faberge eggs she collected.
PhD in Selena
While classrooms nationwide have taught about Selena, some PhD students have dedicated a portion of their careers to unpacking her legacy.
Selena’s First Language was English
Though her enduringly popular songs were in Spanish, the Texas-raised singer’s first language was English – she later learned Spanish for her music.
Why Selena Day is Important
She was a fashion and entrepreneurial icon
Before she died, Selena founded Selena, Etc - a boutique chain in Texas selling exotic clothing styles, hair products, Selena memorabilia, and even featuring a nail and hair salon. Sadly, several years after her murder the boutique was forced to close, but Selena’s iconic fashion lives on! She notably modeled biker jackets, rhinestone belts, fringe, and ruffles, but more Selena-inspired clothing can be purchased at places like Forever 21 and on her official website.
She represented the Tejano spirit
Selena wasn’t nicknamed the Queen of Tejano Music for nothing. She is credited not only with making popular Tejano music mainstream, but also embodying the spirit of the community! Selena allowed this group of people to see themselves in the mainstream in a way they’d never been before, and that deserves to be celebrated! Tejano, or Tex-Mex culture, is also represented by Tex-Mex cuisine and cowboy (vaquero) culture in the Southwest.
Her music and performances were incredible!
At the end of the day, Selena was a once-in-a-lifetime performer. From the stunning stage costumes she wore that inspired fashion trends for decades, to her rich lyric soprano, her act was visually stunning and moving to listen to. We love Selena as a performer, and her insane talent is enough to warrant a celebration!
Selena Day dates