Saturday, May 18, 2024

Remembering the late Jenni Rivera: ‘La Diva de la Banda’

The tragedy that struck the Mexican music community early Sunday morning when 43-year-old Mexican singer Jenni Rivera’s plane crashed in Mexico, shortly after takeoff. There seems to be no evidence of survivors at the crash site, a ranch in the state of Nuevo León, close to Monterrey. Authorities have not confirmed her death, but her dad and brother in the United States confirmed she was on the Learjet 25.

Jenni Rivera made headway in her music career through her music and her candidness with her fans about her personal troubles. Today, we remember the crossover star for her strength, her music and contributions to Latinos in the U.S.

Rivera, born in 1969, belonged to one of the most important dynasties in Mexican-American contemporary music. Her parents were Mexican immigrants who raised her and her siblings in a musical household. Her father, Pedro Rivera, launched the independent label Cintas Acuario in 1987 and all her brothers were also involved in musicincluding Juan Rivera and Lupillo, her younger brother who is a popular Mexican regional singer.

Rivera became pregnant when she was still in high school and married José Trinida Marín, her child’s father, in 1984. This was the first of her five children. They divorced in 1992 and she remarried two more times. She recently divorced from her third husband, Esteban Loaiza.

Jenni Rivera’s tumultuous life included domestic abuse and family scandals but she was always known for her frank talk about her problems to give a good life to her beloved ones despite lots of setbacks. She included these themes into her songs and was an advocate for social responsibility. In fact, Rivera founded the Jenni Rivera Love Foundation to offer support to single moms and victims of domestic abuse in the United States.

Jenni Rivera began recording in 1992. It was almost by chance as she didn’t really plan on joining the family’s musical business, but once divorced she started working for her father’s record label. The rest is history.

Her debut album, Chacalosa, was her introduction to the music scene. From there she signed with Fonovisa and began releasing bestselling Latin music CDs.

Her 10th studio album, Jenni (2008), became her first number-one album in the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart in the United States.

In 2010 she appeared in and produced the reality TV show Jenni Rivera Presents: Chiquis & Raq-C, featuring her oldest daughter. She also appeared in and produced I Love Jenni, a reality show that first aired in 2011 and Chiquis ‘n Control in 2012.

Jenni Rivera sold a total of 15 million records and according to Nielsen SoundScan, Rivera sold 1.2 million albums and 349,000 digital tracks in the United States.

  • Regional Mexican Airplay 10 Top 10s (including one No. 1)
  • Hot Latin Songs Eight Top 20
  • Regional Mexican Albums Eight Top 10s (four No. 1s)
  • Top Latin Albums Seven Top 10s (one No. 1)

She recently won two Billboard Mexican Music Awards: Female Artist of the Year and Banda Album of the Year for Joyas Prestadas: Banda. She was nominated for Latin Grammys in 2002, 2008 and 2011.

Jenni Rivera also had a weekly radio program and clothing and cosmetics lines. The singer wanted to appeal to U.S Latinas from her music, her foundation and all her projects. She was a successful strong-willed entrepreneur that knew how to shine with her heartfelt frankness. She will be always remembered as one of the biggest bilingual personalities in U.S.-Mexican music.

This article originally appeared in VOXXI.