Thursday, April 25, 2024

Something Spanglish: Nydia Gutierrez “Queen of Tejano – A Legacy for Future Generations”


South Texas Tejano music encompasses the celebration and the union of both Texan and Mexican cultures known as Tex-Mex. A mixture of Norteño and Ranchera with Folk influences, Tejano music remains a staple in South Texas culture. Today marks an unforgettable day in Tejano music, as it is the 20th anniversary of the passing of the “Queen of Tejano,” Selena Quintanilla-Pérez.

The early 90’s were an exciting time for folks in South Texas and Mexican-Americans across the country – Selena’s catchy blend of Cumbia and Latin Pop was taking over every major Tejano radio station and there was a undeniable sense of promise and pride that captivated our communities as a result. Selena was, in every sense of the word, a trailblazer. She made serious waves to shake up a once monolithic, male dominated music scene and did so with enviable grace and elegance.


Notably, Selena was the first female Tejano artist to achieve Gold Status with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and she received the coveted Grammy Award in 1994 for Best Mexican/American Album, introducing Tejano music to the Grammy winners circle.

As I watched her take the stage to receive the award in front of such an acclaimed group of musicians, I can distinctly remember thinking, “She is one of us.” It was a truly important moment for 9-year-old me and frankly for many Latinos, to witness a Mexican-American from Texas reach such great heights. It is a moment that till this day, still fills me with a tremendous amount of hope for future.

Spanning multiple generations as well as the future generations of young Latina women, her influence is a reflection of a thriving culture and the strong women behind it. She will forever be immortalized as the 23-year-old Mexican-American bright beauty she was. Her legacy reminds us to keep going and to follow our dreams.

“If you have a dream, don’t let anyone take it away and always believe that the impossible is always possible.”—Selena Quintanilla-Pérez