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Selena’s Legacy Continues With Netflix Series

This is one inspirational life story that deserves to be revisited and revived.
Warner Bros.
By  · Published on December 12th, 2018

The infectious musical stylings of the late performer Selena Quintanilla are about to be revitalized for the masses in a huge way. Amid the current boom of musical biopics in the works across Hollywood, Netflix has announced that they have greenlit a fresh biographical take on the Queen of Tejano. Watch the video promotional spot for the new series below.

The short ad channels one of the musician’s biggest hits, “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” as it reveals a title card for Selena: The Series. This scripted show will adapt Selena’s inspirational life story, having been described by the streamer as a coming-of-age narrative. Moisés Zamora (American Crime) has been hired as the series screenwriter.

Notably, the Quintanilla family will feature as executive producers of Selena: The Series, with the pop star’s sister and former bandmate Suzette Quintanilla saying in a statement via Netflix:

“Selena will always have a lasting place in music history and we feel great responsibility to do justice to her memory. With this series, viewers will finally get the full history of Selena, our family, and the impact she has had on all of our lives.”

Netflix has a tricky coup on its hands; one that is bursting with potential because of its subject’s true timelessness. Despite all the merits of the 1997 biopic Selena starring Jennifer Lopez, I’m exhilarated at the thought of Selena: The Series introducing a renewed era for an exceptional icon.

It feels genuinely difficult to adequately sum up the importance of Selena in the world of entertainment as a whole. Known as one of Latin pop’s most enduring performers, Selena rose to stardom by being the best kind of celebrity possible. She was dubbed the “Tejano Madonna” thanks to her high-caliber performances that channeled not only the Queen of Pop but also the likes of Janet Jackson.

Concurrently, she was known for being lovely to fans and had an effervescent personality, accruing an excellent public image over the years. Selena’s recognizable outfits garnered her attention as a vital fashion icon. She was known for her feminism and philanthropy, as well. Her unique, well-rounded artistry ultimately gave her a universal appeal while proudly displaying her roots in the Latinx community.

Although known for integrating all sorts of genres into her tunes, Selena is credited for boosting the popularity of Tejano (or Tex-Mex) music. Starting as part of the band Selena y Los Dinos (which was founded by her father and included her sister and brother), she continued to be a prominent international voice for the genre through her groundbreaking solo work.

Selena’s self-titled debut album opened doors for a crucial female voice in a typically male-dominated genre. She went on to be the first female Tejano singer to be certified gold after her sophomore record Ven Conmigo sold over 50,000 units. Her third and fourth releases, Entre a Mi Mundo and Amor Prohibido, became consecutive number ones on the US Billboard Regional Mexican Albums charts.

Bittersweetly, Selena’s untimely death in 1995 did increase the salience of her public profile. Her fifth and final album Dreaming of You — a posthumous release — debuted atop the US Billboard 200. To this day, her influence in the music industry includes and extends beyond Tejano and Latin pop. Moreover, her popularity resonates with a plethora of other artists, including actors like Jackie Cruz (Orange is the New Black) and Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives).

We’re used to hearing about certain projects being “the thing we need right now.” However, a summary of Selena’s influence alone attests that she is one of those stars whose relevance cannot be overstated. The film Selena may be two decades old now, but 2018 has evidently been a noteworthy year of resurgence for the singer.

Selena: The Series comes on the heels of another fictional rendition produced by the Quintanilla family: an untitled ABC series announced in January that is primed to bring a Selena-inspired tale to life. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Netflix’s venture will act as a stark contrast to El Secreto de Selena either. Based on a book by journalist María Celeste Arrarás — one that has since been denounced by the Quintanillas — that TNT series implies that hidden dark details lurk behind the singer’s sunny exterior.

Regardless, Selena’s immense success marked many cultural turning points and provided wonderful representation for the Latinx community. Any onscreen Selena would have massive shoes to fill. Nevertheless, considering the sheer reach that Netflix has across the globe, this rival biopic will likely turn the most heads. It could be a formidable depiction that will keep Selena’s legacy alive if done right.

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)