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KUT is partnering with Austin Vida to highlight arts and culture events happening in Austin’s Latino community. Support comes from the Blanton Museum of Art and its new galleries dedicated to Latino art.

April is all about Selena

sanity_94 via Flickr

Throughout April, much of Texas will be celebrating Selena Quintanilla, the "Queen of Tejano Music." The singer's short career and sudden death made a lasting impact still felt across the state today.

Nancy Flores, editor and publisher of Austin Vida, an independent Latino news and culture site, said Selena made Tejano music more popular than it had ever been.

“She was this rising star who broke barriers in this very male-dominated Tejano music scene,” she said. By the mid '90s, Selena had become more than a music icon. She was began expanding her empire into boutiques and a fashion line. She was in the process of recording her debut English crossover album when she was killed by the former president of her fan club weeks before her 24th birthday.

“All of us, and I include myself, remember that specific moment when we learned about Selena’s death,” Flores said. “I remember a classmate coming into our room and announcing that somebody had shot Selena, and we were all in shock.”

News of her death was covered by news outlets around the country. A People magazine with Selena on the cover sold out. A commemorative collector’s issue of the magazine also sold out.

A 1997 movie based on the singer’s life and career launched the career of Jennifer Lopez and has since been selected for preservation in the Library of Congress.

“It's always such a treat to see it on the big screen and to see it just in community with other Selena fans brings it to a next level,” Flores said.

Since her death, fans across Texas spend April celebrating her birthday and her life. There are many ways to celebrate Selena this month. On April 8, Esquina Tango in East Austin is hosting a “Noche de Cumbia,” featuring all-female Selena cover band, Las Chicas en 512. It will also have dance instructors to teach some basic cumbia, a Latin dance and music style from Colombia, so no experience is required.

Flix Brewhouse in Round Rock will show the 1997 movie April 15. You can celebrate her birthday at the screening with a free slice of cake.

“To see it just in community with other Selena fans brings it to a next level,” Flores said.

Find other Selena events and more in Austin Vida’s monthly Cultura guide.

Juan Garcia is a producer at KUT. Got a tip? You can email him at
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