Tag Archives: Selena

Celebrating The Queen

I called this post “Celebrating The Queen,” because I spent Mother’s Day weekend with my mom at the Second Annual, Fiesta de la Flor – a festival celebrating the life of Selena Quintanilla Perez.

In so many ways, this festival ties my all worlds together. Attending the event meant incorporating flying, driving, dancing, music, singing, my mom, family, Selena costumes, red lips, eyeliner, waterfronts, blue skies, beauty, Latinos, love & history. It was definitely an experience I’ll never forget. 

 You see, when I was a little girl, my Mexican parents thought it would be best to have “Americanized” children. No Spanish, no accent, just perfect English. This would avoid all the ridicule they endured growing up. I’ve talked a little bit about this in a previous post

Anyway, when I was a young girl, my (Mexican-Amercican) mom had this Spanish cassette that she would listen to on repeat. The melodies were intriguing & the sultry, raspy voice called to me. When I first heard Selena’s Entre A Mi Mundo, it was love as first note. The album included an English track called “Missing My Baby,” which was reminiscent of the Golden Oldies you’d hear on Sunday nights, on the Art Laboe show. I was impressed that this “Mexican” singer knew English. When my mom explained to me that Selena was Mexican-American, like us, and that she only learned Spanish through her music, she instantly (along with Mariah Carey) became my idol.     

Little did I know that I’d only get to enjoy Selena as a living artist for a few short years. When I was in sixth grade, my mom picked me up from school on Friday,  March 31, 1995, with tears in her eyes. She told me that Selena had been shot & killed earlier that day. I remember crying myself to sleep that night. 

After losing such an icon in my life, the only thing I could do was try keep her alive in my world, in my own way.  Everyday after school, I’d come home & spend hours upon hours with her CDs on repeat, singing and dancing in my room. I was silly enough to think my family couldn’t hear me.  

About six months later, after hearing me practice so avidly, my mom asked me to sing at my dad’s birthday party. Nervous to sing in Spanish, in front of a Mexican crowd with a full Mariachi band, I initially declined. Then, she offered me to pay me & I jumped up and grabbed the microphone. I sang Tú Sólo Tú, trying as hard as I could to mimic Selena’s cover from her last studio album, “Dreaming of You,” which was released after her passing. 

The crowd seemed pleased & very surprised… and, I was hooked. It was hard to keep me from singing at parties after that. 

After 21 years of imitating, impersonating & cultivating my own version of a Selena-inspired woman, I finally got to visit her home town of Corpus Christi.  The best part was that I got to take my mom, the woman who introduced me to this artist, who continues to influence my life even over two decades after her death.  I was beyond excited.  

The entire trip was a roller coaster ride.  Excitement, sadness, heartbreak, love, anger… Those were all a part of the emotional weekend.  


Our weekend started with a dash to the festival.  After two flights & a road trip from San Antonio, we made it to Corpus Christi in time to catch Pete Astudillo.  My mom and I both cried when he performed “Como Te Extraño,” a cumbia he wrote for Selena.  It was such a precious moment. 
The night ended on a happy note with the Legend, “El Rey de la Acordeón,” Ramón Ayala.”  Every Mexican family plays his classics at any given gathering.  His music is a staple in our culture. 


The next day, we mapped out some stops around Corpus Christi.  We wanted to see everything from where Selena lived, to where she was laid to rest.  Here’s how our day went: 

We (along with some other festival goers) started our day with a visit to Selena’s gravesite.



Our next stop was was Selena & Chris’s house. They actually lived next door to Abraham & Marcela Quintanilla (Selena’s parents). On the other side of their house (not photographed) was A.B. Quintanilla’s house – Selena’s brother/producer/bandmate.

The most chilling stop we made all day was to the (former) Days Inn, room 158 (now Knight’s Inn, room 150), where Selena was brutally murdered by her fan club president, Yolanda Saldivar.

We met the guest staying in the room & he was nice enough to let us in to look around. It was definitely a heavy & eerie experience . I mean, this was the actual spot where Selena was shot! It was heartbreaking.


The hallway where Selena ran to look for help to save her life…


Next, was the Selena Museum. It’s also the location for Q Productions, Selena’s recording studio. The museum was closed, but we got a few pics outside.

My mom made me do this…

 

Our last stop, before Day 2 at the festival, was the Selena Memorial & statue.

After the emotional tour, we hit the festival for a bit & enjoyed the perfect weather, good music, and all the Selena costumes. It was such a beautiful day. 

I loved this girl’s costume! We chatted for a bit & discovered that we have same birthday, October 25.

The closest I got to Chris Perez during his meet & greet. The line was about 3hours…


Taking a page from the Selena movie & doing “The Washing Machine,” with my mom.

We turned in early, in order to get a good night’s sleep and to prepare for our day of travel.  In the morning, we thought we’d stop by the Selena Museum to check if it was as open. It was! 

After paying the small $3 entrance, we were lead into Selena’s recording studio. This was the actual room where she recorded the music that I still listen today; the same room you see Jennifer Lopez depicting the recording of “I Could Fall in Love,” in the movie. I was more than excited! 


After a short introduction & a mintute for photo ops, we were free to look around the Museum. The family has preserved & displayed Selena’s many awards, photos of the singer, some of her personal items, including jewelry, an old cell phone and her famous red Porsche. The main displays, and the center focus, are some of Selena’s iconic outfits.  To see the pieces up close and personal, is very moving.  Each display case contains a photo of the singer in that particular outfit.  Being that close to the actual clothes that she wore & designed touched my heart. It made me feel close to her & that the same time, I was reminded of how she stolen from us way too soon.

The oh-so famous Purple outfit from Selena’s last concert…



One of the most moving displays in the museum – a lipstick stained microphone…

I noticed that a lot of the things she wore didn’t look expensive or extravagant in those display cases.  A lot of the pieces had obviously been bedazzled by the singer herself.  You can see traces of glue from the hot glue gun under some of the jewels that made her belts & bra tops sparkle.  Some of the pieces looked worn & used, but man, when she wore them, she looked like a million bucks! 




After spending time in Corpus Christi, it became so clear to me that Selena really was just a small town girl, with a simple life.  She was just human, like me and you. She loved to be close to her family & she loved to sing.  She was innovative and driven and she would have done so many more great things, if she had been given the chance at a longer life.  

Standing in front of the “Selena” lights from the Last Concert, filmed at the Houston Astrodome on February 26, 1995.

I think one of the greatest things Selena (or her tragic death) did for me, was bring me to ask myself, “When I’m gone, what will people say about me? How will I be remembered?” 

It made me realize that in this life, there are so many people who I will cross paths with. Some people will be in my life for a long time, and others, for just a brief moment, but either way, whether they’re around for many moments, or for just one, those “moments” will be the only thing they ever know of me; the only experiences they’ll ever have… So, I might as well make them good! 

Forever…

Thank you for reading along.  I really hope you enjoyed this post.  Feel free to share any of your Selena stories in the comments.  

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Soundset

Where do I even start…?
Have you ever had those moments in life where everything is just perfect? Well, I just had a whole long weekend of that exact perfectness. Great weather, delicious food, awesome people & all-access to the most amazing music…
I woke up Saturday morning and rushed to the airport to catch a flight to Minneapolis. I was going to spend Memorial Day Weekend out in Minnesota to catch Soundset, the annual hip hop festival held by Rhymesayers Entertainment at Canterbury Park. I’ve wanted to go to Soundset for a few years, now. This year, it finally happened… on Sunday, May 25, 2014, I spent the day with 30,000 other music lovers at the sold out event…
During my flight, I met a few people who were headed to the festival for the Bboy Competition. I didn’t have any set plans during the day, so, they invited me along. We stopped at The Mall of America and rode a crazy roller coaster. Then headed to the 5-8 club for a famous Juicy Lucy burger.
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After lunch, I met up with the famous, Eddie Sancho, for some drinks before the Soundet Pre-Party . (I’ll share more about Eddie someday soon. Chances are, if you’re a fan of hip hop, you’ve heard his work).
We’re having drinks at the hotel when Eddie asks if I’d like to check out the venue for tonight’s show… It’s at the legendary First AvenueThe house that Prince built – which has been around since 1970 and was featured in the film, Purple Rain. It’s stage has been graced by countless amazing musical acts. Of course I want to see it!

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When we get there, they’re setting up for the #BeforeSoundset show. It’s cool seeing the empty space & witnessing the calm before the storm.

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From there, we head over to the Rhymesayers offices. I’m so excited! This is where a lot of the (behind the scenes) magic happens… We get a private tour of the facilities, have some delicious local beers and grab some gear from the Fifth Element Store. Not to mention, I got to meet some super cool people!
We have dinner near the venue, and get ready for the show. Thanks to Eddie & the amazing team at Rhymesayers, Here’s a little glimpse at how the night went…

20140603-012118-4878694.jpgSlug (Atmosphere) made an appearance to introduce Step Brothers

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Rhymesayers Entertainment

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Slug, Atmosphere

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20140603-023828-9508284.jpgEddie & Ali

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Dem Atlas

The pre-party definitely set the tone for Sunday… aka Soundset Day. I woke up so excited!
Let me start with the line up…

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from Veterans, to fresh new artists, to some of today’s heavy hitters, the wide range of acts consisted of both, men & women, representing various ethnical backgrounds. With DJ’s, B boys & MC’s on three different stages, a car show, graffiti wall, and skate ramp, there was something there for everyone.
I’ve attended a lot of hip hop festivals before this & I gotta say, this was, by far, my favorite one ever. (Ok, maybe the accommodations and all access pass had a little something to do with that). But, nonetheless, the guys at Rhymesayers really know how to throw a party. I’ll let my pictures do (most of) the talking…

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20140608-005046-3046926.jpgAfter a fun shuttle ride with a great group, we got there just in time to catch Snow Tha Product rockin’ the stage. I learned about her when I saw her on the line up a few weeks before. She’s a young Latina from San Diego and I love what she stands for. Don’t let the pretty face fool you, either, this girl can spit rapid fire!

20140608-011344-4424904.jpgEddie and I enjoying Snow’s set. In the background, (from our fun shuttle ride) is the talented G Koop, the man behind the live instruments on Atmoshpere’s Southsiders.

20140608-012236-4956522.jpgEddie introduced me to Maria Isa, another proud Latina, sharing her message through her music.

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It wasn’t long before I caught up with my favorite Instagram Photographer… Mr. Evidence was hard at work, running the Soundset ig account .

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And of course, these guys weren’t too far behind… Alchemist and DJ Mishaps

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Golf Carts were the preferred mode of transportation… Check out our driver! 😉

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This girl, Alicia, made me feel like the ultimate VIP and took good care of me. She has a great heart & we became friends instantly.

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20140608-014328-6208230.jpgEven though we got there too late to catch their set, I had a chance to meet up with two of my favorite California kids, The Grouch and Eligh

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Monica, another find from the fun shuttle, introduced me to the sounds of (& the man himself) DJ Q Bert

20140608-015806-7086438.jpg I also had the chance to catch Rapsody move the crowd.

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Sky made sure we got to see the view from the side stage…it was amazing!

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I gotta admit, there were moments when I pretended the crowd was cheering for me… I felt like Selena! 😉

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We caught the legendary Cypress Hill from the side stage…

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took a few pics…

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& made some new friends.

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This girl, Taylor, got lost from her group…she was all alone & one of the members of security allowed her access to the side stage so that she could try to spot them. How cool is that?

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I was 2 excited to see 2 Chainz! (See what I did there)? 😉

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Cool shirt, bro

20140608-021423-8063118.jpgOpen container situation with Alc

20140608-021448-8088355.jpgCypress Hill!

20140608-021515-8115242.jpgMy fellow San Diegan & world traveler, Cros One was judging the Bboy battle.

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20140608-021711-8231349.jpgRan into my ladies from the plane…

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20140608-022447-8687342.jpgWiz Khalifa didn’t let being arrested in Texas earlier in the day keep him from performing for his fans. The crowd went absolutely wild when he took his place on stage!

20140608-023105-9065055.jpgEddie and I caught Nas‘s set from the Monster Tower…

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along with this unbelievable view of the festival!

20140608-023433-9273258.jpgThen, we caught up with Mr. Jones backstage.
*Eddie actually worked on Illmatic. The classic album celebrated it’s 20th anniversary this year. Pretty cool stuff, right?

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Maggie, my doll for the day, was another one from the fun group on the shuttle. I had a blast with her.
*Shout out to DJ Abilities

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Soon, it was time for the main event… the hometown heroes from Minneapolis, Atmosphere, closed the show like only they could.

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20140610-181146-65506387.jpgPosing with the host of the event, Sway Calloway, before heading back to First Avenue for the official Soundset After Party…

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I’ve seriously always dreamed of experiencing a music festival in the capacity in which I experienced Soundset. Just hanging out with the artists, behind the scenes, in their element, among friends, family & comrades. I am so glad it finally came to be!
From this (once) small town girl, with big dreams, I encourage each & every one of you to follow your heart & seek out your passion in life. Chase it, hunt it, run after it with all your might. Your heart will never lead you astray… Once you know what it is that you really want in life, the universe will conspire to give it to you. Go after it!

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Shout out to the girls at Glam Doll Donuts for following their love & passion for music (and baking) & turning it into a successful business in such a sweet way!

Thanks for reading along, everyone. What is it that you really want in life? What’s your dream? Or has it already come true…?

*Special thanks to Eddie Sancho, Ashanti Abdullah, Siddiq, & the entire staff & crew at Rhymesayers Entertainment for an unbelievable, unforgettable weekend. Much love. Let’s do it all again next year!

Check out the Soundset 2014 Wrap Up here…
*at 1:39 in…don’t blink! 😉

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