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‘Anything For Selena’ Podcast Examines The Singer’s Legacy Through Belonging

Art by Iliana Galvez Courtesy WBUR

From Texas Standard:

We know her name, her story, her voice. The singer Selena changed countless lives, and continues to do so as her legacy lives on. But for the Texas kids who grew up with her in the late ’90s, the kids who danced to her songs at quinceañeras and weddings, and for those who learned about death because of her own, Selena is a part of them.

It’s through these connections that happened during her own formative years, that Maria Garcia guides listeners through the podcast called “Anything For Selena.” She says it’s a podcast about belonging.

“In her legacy,” Garcia told Texas Standard, “this theme of belonging, of what it looks like to find your place in the world, to find yourself in the world to sort of claim your identity in the world – it’s all over her legacy, in different aspects.”

Fans of Selena who think they know everything about her might be in for a surprise. The podcast examines the Tejano Queen’s impact on race, politics and the cultures she inhabited.

“So the podcast really examines Selena’s legacy,” Garcia says. “And we do that by using the tools of our craft as journalists, like rigorous journalism, cultural analysis, but then also, very intimate, vulnerable storytelling. And I knew as a journalist that I couldn’t tell Selena story, honestly, without telling you what place in the world I was coming to the story from.”

Garcia grew up in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico – she’s a fronterísa, or border girl. She knew Selena was important to her because Selena was the first person she saw who embodied these two parts of herself.

“Mexicana and American,” she said,” in a way that was seamless, in a way that spoke to authenticity for me. And it was so rare at the time because even as a little girl, even as like a 7 year old, the earliest memories I have with Selena, these two parts of myself, even living on the border – we’re so divided from each other because this was the ’90s, the age of intense assimilation, where we had to divide ourselves.”

The powerful message Garcia felt Selena transmitted to her fans is weaved through nine episodes. The series finale was just released. Garcia says the process of making the show has made her understand herself better, too.

“I came away with it with such tremendous growth and my feet sort of planted on the ground,” she said. “We really tried to center Selena’s humanity and go back to where we started, which is that this girl, this working-class girl from South Texas changed the world simply by being unapologetically herself, simply by not succumbing to shame for a variety of reasons. And she instead bloomed. And when she bloomed, she brought us with her, and because of her, we bloomed.”

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Kristen Cabrera is a graduate of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine, where she saw snow for the first time and walked a mile through a blizzard. A native of the Rio Grande Valley, she graduated from the University of Texas-Pan American (now UTRGV) and is a former KUT News intern. She has been working as a freelance audio producer, writer and podcaster. Email her:
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