SelenaI’m glad I got to live during the Selena era, even if it was a short lived one.  Now I kinda feel bad for today’s youth because when they hear the name Selena they automatically think Justin Beiber’s ex-girlfriend Miss Gomez.  But to those who were fortunate enough to know who I’m referring to you know she was one of those artists that all the girls, and women wanted to be like. It didn’t matter whether you were pushing 30, or on the verge of turning nine years old, that’s how old I was when the traumatic news hit the airwaves.

“La reina del Tex-Mex ha fallecido,” they repeated over the radio and on Spanish channels.   “Tejano music star is shot to death,” one newspaper headline read that Spring in 1995.

That year and every year thereafter, during my elementary years every girl wanted to perform to one of her radio hits, including me.  I think the majority of our Caucasian teachers didn’t understand a word from any of her Spanish songs.  Her songs were contagious, from lyrics about falling head over heels over a guy, “Bidi- bidi bom- bom,” she’d sing, about the noise her heart made, or when she would countdown in a very popular song about an old hoopty (car) that she called “La Carcacha,” in it she’d prayed for it to not leave her stranded.

But like the carcacha, the curvy Mexican-American, she did leave us, and some of us with more than just music.

Aside her amazing vocals, Selena changed women’s fashion!  How many of you ladies owned a denim vest?  And how about a long skirt?  I hope you don’t feel ashamed to say you did because I did!  I loved my vest and pairing it with any long skirt, especially my red one.  The moment I’d slip that on, I felt like the hottest nine- year-old on the playground.   Thank goodness for my parents that I was well under my teens in the 90s, otherwise I would have also sported that busti-caca as Edward J. Olmos, who played Selena’s father, called it (in the movie about the singer).   Busti-caca for those who didn’t catch the reference, was her father’s way of saying bustier, or as he would describe it, “a bra with little sparkly things.”  In some ways you can say she was like the Mexican-American Madonna when it came to fashion, quite the trendsetter.  Even nowadays, when you look at a woman with a sock bun you can’t help but to think of one of Selena’s iconic hairstyles.

It’s been 17 years now since her passing. There’s been a major hit movie, several biographies, articles, and anniversary shows honoring the talented singer-songwriter, but despite the passing time, there are some things that will never get old.   A song may randomly play on my Pandora or at a wedding , and the reaction is still the same.  In an instant I am nine again.  I want to sing.  I want to dance (imitating those incredible spins she mastered).  I simply want to be Selena.