Selena: The Movie...20 Years Later

Theatrical poster of the 1997 film

Theatrical poster of the 1997 film


In 1997, Selena was released in theaters. The movie, based on the life of Tejano music superstar, Selena Quintanilla-Perez, detailed her childhood, how she got interested in music, her rise to fame, and the tragic ending of her life. From the highs and lows, movies goers engaged in the film and vibrant depiction of Selena's journey. With her family behind every step of the movie, they helped bring Selena to life, but make her a bigger, household name. 

20 years later since the release of the film, the legacy of Selena and the impact of her biopic is still thriving. From the box office numbers, influencing younger generations, awards, to even the careers of the actors and actresses in the film, the biopic gave us more than a story. It gave us hope. 

The impact and influence started from within. The film has helped the careers of actresses Constance Marie, who played Marcela Quintanilla, Selena’s mother, and Jackie Guerra, who played Suzette Quintanilla, Selena’s sister. Marie has continued acting, including a role on the hit tv shows, The George Lopez Show and Switched at Birth. Guerra went to become an author, a stand-up comedian and has been featured on numerous talk shows, including The Tyra Banks Show, talking about her personal struggles. Jon Seda, who played Chris, Selena’s husband, has also continued acting and is currently acting on Chicago P.D, Chicago Fire, and Chicago Justice. Jennifer Lopez, who played the title role, has since become a superstar in her own right. The former Fly Girl of In Living Color started a music career herself since her breakout role and has expanded her acting resume. Jennifer Lopez also made history when she took the role; the million-dollar role made Lopez the highest-paid Latina actress in Hollywood history. 

The cast and director, Gregory Navo, on the red carpet of the movie's premiere. 

The cast and director, Gregory Navo, on the red carpet of the movie's premiere. 

The film received positive reviews (and still does) for the story line and acting performances from the actors. The film grossed over $35 million at the box office, making it one of the most successful biopics of all time, and the highest selling biopic about a Latina female artist. The film also helped earn Lopez her first Golden Globe nomination.

Jennifer Lopez in her dressing room preparing to film a scene. 

Jennifer Lopez in her dressing room preparing to film a scene. 

Since the film’s availability on DVD and frequent syndication on television, Selena has reached younger generations of fans. Many of Selena's younger fans see her biopic as a staple in the Latina community, as well as a pioneering, positive image for Latina girls and singers. Looking back at the timeline of music trends, the popularity of Selena's biopic can arguably be the reason for the Latin Pop trend of the late 90's and early 2000’s. Years since the release of the film, inside and outside the Latina community, Selena has been put on a pedestal as a feminist, a fashion and beauty icon, and trailblazer for Latina women in music.

In 2017, we are still excited about the Selena biopic. Once it comes on tv, best believe you will see about 10 to 15 social media post letting you know the Selena movie is on. Like any classic movies, everyone can recite at least one line from the movie. More importantly, the legacy of Selena is passed down and taught to children as young as four and five thanks to the Selena biopic, and the help of their parents. The Selena biopic has helped put Selena in the limelight she deserved to be in. The film helped put Latin music to the forefront. The film gave latin women and women across the country confidence in their dreams.