In 1995, the world lost the Queen of Tejano music, Selena Quintanilla Perez. Immediately following her death, mass vigils were held around the Latinidad to honor our lost reina. After her death, fans turned to her music for consolation and relief as they mourned the musician. Even after 24 years, the superstar is still grieved and celebrated by her fans.
Festivals are held around the world each year in honor of Selena’s birthday, life and death. Murals of the Queen of Tejano still grace neighborhoods from Texas to California to Mexico. Even international brands like MAC Cosmetics, Forever 21 and Target still collaborate with Selena’s estate to bring fans new merchandise.
While these all immortalize Selena’s legacy, there’s only one museum in the world dedicated to the Queen of Tejano.
In Selena’s hometown of Corpus Christi Texas — only a few miles from her final resting place — is Q Productions. Founded in 1993, Q Productions is the actual studio Selena recorded in with her father, Abraham, and Los Dinos. While it’s still an operating studio, the big draw of the location is the Selena Quintanilla Museum. Featuring mementos, collectables and memories from the iconic Latina’s life and career, it’s a visit that every Selena fan should make.
Here are some of the remarkable artifacts you will find at the Selena Museum.
1. Selena’s red convertible
It’s now over 30 years old, but this racy red convertible was Selena’s favorite car. In fact, before she bought the 1986 Porsche, she purchased a new black Porsche hatchback instead. However, something just didn’t vibe for the Queen of Tejano and she traded that one in for this older model. It could be because it’s paint job matches the Latina’s signature red lip but this ride just says, “Selena.”
2. The entire Selena MAC makeup line
In 2016, international makeup company MAC Cosmetics launched a line inspired by Selena. The Selena MAC collection was so well received that it sold out online within HOURS. The full line is on display at the Selena Museum — sporting products with names like “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” “Missing My Baby” and “No Me Queda Mas.”
3. Selena’s fashion sketches
Anyone who has seen Selena knows that the musician had an incredible sense of style. She had first-hand input in her styling because she designed many of her most iconic looks. Had she not become a musician, Selena wanted to become a fashion designer. In fact, before her death, Selena had opened two boutiques — one in Corpus Christi and one in San Antonio. Another was planned for Monterrey, Mexico however it was never built. Following her death, both locations closed but you can still see the sketches that started it all.
4. Selena’s childhood dolls
It’s easy to forget that the legendary Queen of Tejano started off as a little girl, singing songs to her father’s guitar. These sweet reminders of her childhood give us a glimpse into the Selena that only her family know. The baby doll and old Raggedy Anne are toys saved by Selena’s parents and immortalized in the museum. To them, she will always be their little girl.
5. Fan mail from around the world
Selena got her start in South Texas but soon achieved stardom that reached around the world. At the Selena Museum, you’ll find devoted fan mail from places like Japan, Uruguay, Peru, Hungary and New Zealand. You can still send fan mail to Q Productions and share your own love and appreciation for Selena.
6. An original manuscript for “Selena”
Soon after Selena’s death in 1995, studios began vying for the rights to Selena’s life. The Quintanilla Family wanted to make sure Selena’s spirit was especially respected in any depiction of the departed musician. With this in mind, they became very involved in the film of her life. In 1997, “Selena” debuted to critical acclaim and would arguably be the role that made Jennifer Lopez’s career. At the Selena Museum, you’ll find an original manuscript for the screenplay that would become “Selena.”
7. Selena’s famous bustiers
Before pop stars’ became more open with baring a little skin, Selena made the bustier a staple for her wardrobe. Much to her dad Abraham’s dismay, Selena came up with design herself. The fashionista would sow sequins onto regular bras for a show-stopping look. It’s a good thing that Abe eased his anti-bustier stance. They’re further proof that Selena was a star ahead of her time.
8. Selena’s egg collection
If you’ve seen “Selena,” you know the Queen of Tejano had an odd little collection. She liked to collect eggs; specifically, Faberge eggs. The Russian treasures are a luxury that Selena adored and the singer had plenty in her collection. In case you’re curious, the collection DOES NOT include that egg ring from She-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named.
9. Selena’s Grammy dress
Since fashion is such an essential part of who she was, the Selena Museum has several of the late star’s iconic outfits. One that’s exceptionally gorgeous is the Lillie Rubin white sequin dress she wore to the Grammys. You might remember that legendary scene in “Selena” with the rude boutique clerk and swarm of fans. That scene was inspired by a memorable shopping trip in Houston to buy that dress.
10. Collectable Selena dolls
Raise your hand if you had one of these babies as a kid. Selena has been memorialized in several different ways but the different collectable dolls made in her image may be the most awesome. At the Selena Museum, there is a collection of six Selena dolls — all sporting one of her signature looks.
11. The studio Selena used to record her final album
Q Productions has been a working studio since it’s opening in the 90s. To this day, it still accommodates musicians but Selena was their first ever recording artist. Infact, Selena recorded her final album — “Dreaming of You” — at Q Productions.
12. And the very microphone she used, too
Including Suzette’s first drum kit and Abraham’s prized piano, Q Productions has many treasures on display. One you’ll be able to see is the very mic Selena used to record “Dreaming of You.” The album debuted number 1 on the Billboard 200; the first ever predominantly Spanish-language album to do so.
13. The outfit from the cover of “Amor Prohibido”
One of Selena’s most iconic looks is the fierce leather and lace outfit featured on the album cover for “Amor Prohibido.” This album proved to be one of Selena’s biggest. Besides being a solid listen from start to finish, it also features hits “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” “Yo Me Queda Más” and “Techno Cumbia.” The popularity of this album ensured that Selena will forever be remembered for this look.
14. Selena’s Grammy
For all of Selena’s talent and popularity, she was honored with many awards in her career. The prize of that collection is the 1994 Grammy she won for Best Mexican/American Album. This Grammy made history for the first win by a female Tejano singer. There’s no telling how many more of these she would have won had her life not been cut tragically short.
15. The plaque honoring Selena’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
In 2017, Selena was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The ceremony drew 4,500 fans — the largest gathering to ever attend an unveiling. This plaque was presented to the Quintanilla family to commemorate the historic event and moreover recognize Selena’s legacy.
Selena played the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo a total of three times. While all three concerts drew huge crowds, her 1995 appearance broke attendance records for the Houston Astrodome. Following the concerts, these commemorative belt buckles were presented to Selena to celebrate her successful shows.
17. A custom Selena guitar from the Fiesta de la Flor
Every year, celebrations of Selena’s life happen all over the world. One such event happens in Corpus Christi. Since 2014, Fiesta de la Flor — an event with music, food, a mercado and all things Chicano — has been held for Selena’s memory. At the Selena Museum, you can see a custom guitar that bares the Queen of Tejano’s face from the event.
18. Selena’s jewelry collection
As someone who lived for fashion, it’s only natural that Selena would love a good accessory. The Selena Museum has on display a large collection of jewelry owned and worn by the musician herself. Some items were gifts from loved ones like husband Chris, while others were gifted by fans.
19. Condolence letters from world figures
When Selena passed away, the whole world mourned. The loss of such a vibrant, beautiful and kind young woman was such a tragedy that even world leaders took notice. On display at the Selena Museum are several noted condolence letters from the likes of Larry King, President Bill Clinton, and then-Texas Governor George W. Bush.
20. Selena’s famous purple jumpsuit
Remember that record-breaking performance at the Houston Rodeo? Even if you’ve never seen footage of the big event, there’s no doubt that you’ve seen Selena’s look from that night. The famous purple jumpsuit she wore to the 1995 Houston Rodeo has become the most recognizable outfit from Selena’s memorable wardrobe. At the Selena Museum, you can take a selfie with it and immortalize your love for the Queen of Tejano.
Though over two decades have passed since her death, Tejano queen Selena Quintanilla’s legacy remains strong amongst Latinas. Makeup and fashion lines continue to user her as an inspiration for their brands. The younger Latino generation embraces her when it comes to birthday and quinceanera celebrations and songs like “Si Una Vez” and “La Llamada” continue to rule at the karaoke bar. Contributing to the enthusiastic reign of her legacy have been tributes done by today’s contemporary singers and the trusty skills of Selena fans on the internet.
In a dug up video from 2016 Youtube, Venezuelan singer Mayré Martínez did a heart rendering rendition of a Selan song.
The Venezuelan pop icon paid tribute to the Tejano queen by doing a rendition of a classic song.
Mayré Martínez paid tribute to Selena with a song for Postmodern Jukebox – a popular Youtube channel that does popular songs with a vintage twist. For her performance, Martínez did “Como La Flor” which was the first Postmodern Jukebox video recorded entirely in Spanish.
Of course, it didn’t take long for fans of Selena to break down in tears the moment they watched the video.
“Estoy llorando…. A Selena le habría encantado esto. :'(” one user wrote in the Youtube comments thread.
“Excelente versión en español, seria interesante mas temas en español =)” another wrote.
Check out the video below!
While we will all carry our love for Sel till the day our hearts stop going bidi bidi bom bom, some fans have dedicated their lives and careers to maintaining the reina’s legacy. Here, 6 Latinas who are ensuring that every generation and every demographic knows the estrella, Selena Quintanilla.
1. Suzette Quintanilla
As her older sis, Suzette Quintanilla has played a pivotal role in keeping the memory of Selena alive. From helping to organize Fiesta de la Flor, being a part of a new ABC drama inspired by Selena and speaking about her at events across the country, Suzette remains her late hermanita’s biggest fan.
In Los Angeles, Nira is the lead singer of The Como la Flor Band, a tribute group for la reina. Whether dressed as Selena while performing one of her tunes at Latinx events across California or talking about how the Tejana inspired her love for music, she keeps Sel’s legacy alive with every note and cumbia step.
3. Patty Rodriguez
When Patty Rodriguez isn’t making fierce golden necklaces for her jewelry brand MALA by Patty Rodriguez or acting as the senior producer for “On-Air with Ryan Seacrest,” this Mexican-American is pushing for more representation of Selena. Not only did the mujer start the petition that led to MAC creating its Selena Quintanilla makeup line but she is also the co-creator of Lil’ Libros, a line of children’s books, with one dedicated to Selenas herself.
4. Deborah Paredez
Dr. Deborah Paredez is a Selena expert — literally. The San Antonio native is a scholar whose research centers on the megastar. Her book “Selenidad” looks at how Selena has been commemorated by the Latinx community following her death and how acts of remembering her parallel with Latina identity production.
5. Perla Campos
Perla Campos is the product marketing manager at Google Doodles. A long-time admirer of Selena, she’s the woman behind the Tex-Mex star’s doodle honor last year. “Aside from incredible dance moves and how to belt some serious notes, watching Selena taught me that being Latina was a powerful thing, and that with hard work and focus I could do whatever I set my mind to,” the mexicana said in a letter that accompanied the Google Doodle, which launched an online exhibit of Selena and an interview with Suzette Quintanilla.
6. Ana Guajardo
Ana Guajardo is the Latina behind Cha Cha Covers, a shop that sells nail wraps featuring Latina pop culture icons and moments. It’s no surprise then that Sel is a major hit. From Selena portraits to concert performances, the artist allows nails to act as icebreakers for people to talk about the legacy of our Latina estrella.