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Selena the legend of Tejano music

Dominique Macias
“Siempre Selena” is the first thing you see walking into the El Paso Museum of Art; photographs by John Dyer, 1992.

Timeless pieces like “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and “Amor Prohibido” are a part of The Queen of Tejano’s legacy. A legacy that The El Paso Museum of Art organized to honor the late singer, Selena Quintanilla Perez. The exhibit features memorabilia contributed by the El Paso community, which includes records, merchandise and a 1994 newspaper release from NEWSplus. With rooms in the museum donned in garb inspired by costumes designed and worn by Selena at her concerts, courtesy of Touch Dolls at Touch Bar El Paso.  

According to, Selena was born in Lake Jackson, Texas, to Mexican American parents, Abraham Quintanilla Jr. and Marcella Ofelia Samora. A part of Selena’s legacy began during the recession of 1981 when the restaurant Selena’s dad owned was forced into foreclosure. He then turned to the talents of his children, creating the band “Selena Y Los Dinos.”

At the age of 10, Selena was the lead singer, her brother A.B (Abraham) the bass guitarist and her sister Suzzette on drums. Before recording the band’s first album, Selena learned Spanish phonetically through her father; he believed Selena singing in Spanish would resonate with the Latino community. Prior to Selena’s solo career, Selena Y Los Dinos recorded seven albums together.  

José Montoya, a borderland artist and educator, who has incorporated Selena into his own work, shares when he first experienced Selena.  

“I was in high school at the height of her success and my dad used to watch the Johnny Canales show,” Montoya said.

The “Johnny Canales Show,” which debuted in 1983, was a program that showcased emerging talent from Mexico and the United States.  

“My dad was a big fan of that show and I remember seeing Selena as a kid on that show and seeing her style evolve into pop, which was relatable for me as a teen. So, it was through my dad I first experienced Selena,” Montoya said. 

Montoya expressed how Selena brings back memories and considers her as a Queer icon for her “larger than life costumes” which have inspired fans in the drag community.  

Displayed within the “Selena Forever/Siempre Selena” part of the exhibit are San Antonio photographer, John Dyer’s, photos he captured of Selena. The first time he photographed Selena, he was tasked with a full article shoot for one of the first Spanish language magazine in New York “Mas Magazine”.  

“I’ve never photographed someone more refreshing,” Dyer said. “She was eager to take pictures and be friendly.” 

In the midst of the exhibit, Dyer’s installment also offers an intimate perspective into Selena’s life. 

“She arrived in her little, red hatchback. She brought each and every one of her performance costumes. She did her own make-up. She was full of life, wanted to pose, and dance, and make these big gestures,” Dyer said. 

Selena Quintanilla’s legacy lives on today as the community is invited to experience the new exhibit at the museum located downtown which will run through February 2025.    

Esteban Corona is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected].  

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About the Contributors
Esteban Corona
Esteban Corona, Staff Reporter
Esteban Corona, a sophomore pursuing a major/minor in multimedia journalism and painting. Corona is a staff reporter at The Prospector. After graduation, Esteban plans to continue his endeavors in Journalism while pursuing an artistic career.
Dominique Macias
Dominique Macias, Contributor/Photographer
Dominique Macias is a junior majoring in media advertising minor in creative writing. She is a contributor at The Prospector. After graduation Dominique hopes to pursue a career in the media publishing world; as a photographer or writer.
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