No other pop star of the 20th century has been more inextricably linked to Houston than Selena. Born in nearby Lake Jackson, her career reached its apotheosis at a 1995 concert at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which attracted over 65,000 fans to the Houston Astrodome.
During her rapid rise to fame, Selena maintained an admirable social conscious: While on tour in Houston, the singer donated time to civic organizations such as D.A.R.E. and planned a fund-raising concert to help AIDS patients.
It was 15 years ago today that Selena passed away. On March 31, 1995 in a Corpus Christi Days Inn, the Queen of Tejano fell victim to a violent murder by Yolanda Saldivar, former president of the Texas fan club and the Selena-brand boutique manager (Saldívar had embezzled from Selena's successful franchise). Selena died two days before her 24th birthday.
Since then, the fallen star has received a stream of tributes that attest to her talent and infectious personality. Two weeks after her death, on April 12, Texas Governor George W. Bush declared Selena's birthday, April 16, as Selena Day in Texas. In 1997, a biopic film starring a little-known actress, Jennifer Lopez, met critical acclaim and catapulted JLo's own career.
Houston's Reliant Stadium hosted a memorial concert, Selena ¡VIVE! on April 7, 2005, a week after the 10th anniversary of her death. Once again, over 65,000 fans poured into a stadium to enjoy Selena's celebrated repertoire, performed by such high-profile artists as Gloria Estefan, Thalía and Paulina Rubio. The event was broadcast across the nation and became the most-viewed Spanish-language program in American television history.
Despite her untimely death, Selena's iconic melodies still incite joy for listeners. Her loyal Houston fan base speaks to the city's rich Latino heritage and passion for culture.