Slain Grammy Winner Selena Remembered in Texas - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Slain Grammy Winner Selena Remembered in Texas



    Slain Grammy Winner Selena Remembered in Texas
    Selena Quintanilla-Perez was gunned down at a Corpus Christi motel on March 31, 1995.

    Sixteen years after Selena Quintanilla-Perez was gunned down at a Corpus Christi motel, her legacy lives on at her annual tribute.

    The beloved Latin music singer was celebrated Thursday by those who gathered on the anniversary of her death.

    Held at the Molina Veterans Park in the neighborhood where her family once lived, about 100 fans turned out to hear their favorite Selena songs and show just how much they remember her.

    Maria Anita Monsivaiz drove her truck with Selena's image painted on the sides from San Antonio to be there.

    Wearing a Selena T-shirt and a baseball hat covered in Selena pins, Monsavaiz recounted the last time she saw the singer during an appearance at an H-E-B store.

    "Selena was so nice to everybody, it didn't matter how you dressed or who you were," she said. "She was just a nice person. She had it all but she was down to earth. That's what I love about her."

    Monsivaiz began painting portraits of Selena after her death. She's made nearly 20 now.

    "I wouldn't do them if it wasn't for Selena," she said.

    Selena began her career singing around South Texas with her band Selena y Los Dinos in the late 1980s. Her fame grew in the 1990s, selling hundreds of thousands of albums and earning awards from English and Spanish entities alike.

    But it all came to an end March 31, 1995, when she was killed at the age of 23 by the president of her fan club.

    The annual tribute began after her death and is organized by fans. Selena's family in Corpus Christi historically has distanced itself from the event.

    Abraham Quintanilla, Selena's father, said the day is one he would rather not remember.

    Quintanilla said the family had no special plans to gather on the anniversary of his daughter's death.

    "For us, it's not a time to celebrate anything," he said.

    But Selena's face could be seen everywhere Thursday evening, on shirts, blankets, hats, artwork and in videos, as her music rang out.

    At dusk, fans paused for a candlelight vigil in her memory.

    "It seems like it was just yesterday that she was with us," said Carolina Saenz, who travels each year from New Jersey to perform at the tribute.

    Sanez has been four years in a row, wearing outfits she handmakes modeled after Selena's own iconic wardrobe.

    Though she has the dance moves down and also is a singer, Saenz prefers to lip-sync when performing.

    "It's in honor of her. I let her sing it," she said. "She had so much talent, I just really admire her."

    Many on Thursday sang some of Selena's top hits including "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom," "Amor Prohibido" and "Como La Flor."

    Organizer Sylvia Dancer manned the microphone between performances, recounting Selena's legacy.

    She said the event is a way to honor someone who is loved not only in South Texas, but the world over.

    "It keeps getting bigger and bigger every year," Dancer said. "Her fans will never forget their queen."