By Cynthia Vasquez
Netflix’s “Selena: The Series” will highlight the late Latina singer’s life and is officially set to launch in the next year. The announcement was made in the show’s teaser trailer this November. While the official date and time are yet to be disclosed, it’s safe to say many have started paying close attention to their calendars.
Selena showed that a Latina woman can have it all: success, fame (if she chooses), a family-conscious mentality, love, wealth and also a voice — of both an artist and businesswoman. Owning a commanding yet warm and humbling presence, she displayed her figure along with her talent through unique self-designed costumes. She was one of the first women to create a shift in the beauty standards that labeled stick-figure body types as the ideal.
Her life also produced many “firsts” in music for both Tejano and Mexican culture. Such as, being the first female Tejano artist to take home a Grammy for best Mexican-American album, “Ven Conmigo” (1990) was the first Tejano record to achieve gold status, “Amor Prohibido” (1994) became the first Tejano album to receive platinum certification only three weeks after its issue date and her crossover album, “Dreaming Of You” (1995), reached chart-topping status on the Billboard 200 shortly after its release — another first for any Latinx artist.
The “Como La Flor” singer opened the doors for many Latinx artists and entertainers. She was, and easily remains a pop culture favorite, American or Latin American. Although she lived to witness the first few of those successes, “Dreaming Of You” was released posthumously after she was shot by Yolanda Saldivar, the former president of her fan club. The incident resulted in her untimely and unfortunate death.
How exactly does Netflix plan to honor her life and experiences? Explained as a “coming-of-age story,” the cameras begin by depicting a young Selena, all the way up to her ascent into stardom. The sequence is split into two parts completing the entire limited series, while the first segment will air a total of six hour-long episodes.
If you’ve thought about the first time Selena’s story hit the big screen, in her biopic “Selena” starring Jennifer Lopez, I was just getting there. The obvious resemblance J. Lo held with Selena is equally as prevalent between the vocalist and “Walking Dead” actress Christian Serratos, who’s cast to play the Mexican American vocalist.
The trailer shows Serratos as Selena practicing right before a performance. As the camera focuses on Serratos’ face, you nearly question whether it’s antique clips of the singer or the actress dressed in her role. Because, really, the likeness graces our screens once again.
The 1997 movie “Selena” helped solidify J. Lo as a household name in pop culture. During opening weekend alone, the film grossed a monumental $11.6 million — the first time a Latina actress in a leading role ever achieved such a feat. Oh, and yes, that was another first acquired alongside the legacy Selena left behind.
No shade was intended at all because only a hater can disparage the name J. Lo’s established since. All of this only intended to underscore the impact someone’s essence can have even after they’ve departed.
Serratos’ co-stars include Gabriel Chavarria as A.B. Quintanilla III, Selena’s oldest brother; Ricardo Chavira as Abraham Quintanilla, Selena’s father; Noemi Gonzalez as Suzette Quintanilla, Selena’s sister; Seidy Lopez (best known for her role in “Training Day”) as Marcella Quintanilla, Selena’s mom; and, last but not certainly not least, Madison Taylor Baez as a young Selena.
The Quintanilla family is “fully involved” with the project, and the series includes Suzette Quintanilla as an executive producer. Additional executive producers are family attorney Simran A. Singh, Rico Martinez, Moises Zamora, who also writes the script, and Jaime Dávila, co-founder and president of Campanario Entertainment.
“Selena is an inspirational figure who’s transcended generations. At Campanario, we’ve always known it was crucial for this series to find actors with the right mix of talent, charisma, and passion to honor Selena’s legacy and the story of her family,” said Dávila in a statement. “Our casting director Carla Hool and her team have found an amazing cast to depict the Quintanilla family, and we’re sure fans everywhere will be captivated yet again by Selena’s incredible life.”
Needless to say, Selena is truly one of the few iconic artists who’s simply timeless. Timing, as is known, is an essential factor in either catapulting or continuing one’s success. The vocalist who stole everyone’s hearts still acts as a muse. Those carrying on the mass impression Selena left behind don’t need to worry about striking when the iron’s hot. Because as the years continue, her fan base continues to grow organically, and the excitement felt at the near mention of her name is felt by and large.
The show is well anticipated and long overdue. It has been 23 years since any audience has received a visual story about Selena’s life and times. Even though topics that’ll be included in this latest film narrative are yet to be confirmed, premature fans might be wondering how it compares to J. Lo’s film.
At least, I’ve been wondering since it was added to my “must-watch” list shortly after Netflix announced it was in the works. Obviously, her entire family’s story will be highlighted, as they’re an example of what happens after kin works to build themselves up together.
“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,” said Suzette Quintanilla in a statement. “We are excited to partner with Campanario and Netflix to give fans a never-before-seen glimpse at our story and highlight why Selena will remain a legend for generations to come.”
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