If you weren’t a fan of Tejano music, then the public reaction to the murder of rising pop star Selena Quintanilla in March 1995 might have seemed odd. Though she had yet to cross over into the American mainstream, she was a superstar in the Latin music world. She had sold millions of records and her concerts resembled Beatlemania, with crazed teenagers desperate to get a glimpse of their idol. Yet not only did she know her murderer, but the two had once been close friends. A new special on Reelz debuting this Saturday at 10 PM EST/7 PM PST examines the circumstances behind the beloved pop star’s death.
Selena: The Real Story is a somewhat misleading title, as the program only offers basic biographical information on the singer. Instead, its focus is on the less studied relationship between Quintanilla and Yolanda Saldivar, Selena’s murderer. Saldivar’s actions have been painted as the actions of a deranged fan, yet the truth is much more complex. At the time of the murder, she and Selena had a business relationship. Saldivar built up the fan club into a profitable International endeavor and helped Selena realize her dream of being a fashion designer.
Yet for all her enthusiasm, Selena’s new friend soon crossed a line. Saldivar soon began exerting control over the young singer’s life. She soon became her personal manager and the executive of Selena’s boutique chain, Selena, Etc. After her father does some research into Saldivar’s background, he discovers her criminal past. He then begins looking into his daughter’s affairs, and discovers that Saldivar had embezzled thousands of dollars. The bizarre set of circumstances that followed the inevitable confrontation and firing resulted in murder.
In the years since her death, Selena has obtained an almost religious following, comparable only to Elvis Presley. Selena: The Real Story offers up a fascinating look into the tragic silencing of a superb and beautiful voice.