If you were to ask any member of the Latinx community why Selena Quintanilla-Perez was a powerful woman, they would list a myriad of reasons: her confidence in the way she sang and danced, being the leader of her family's band Los Dinos at a young age, her bold onstage fashion style; accentuating her curves during a time where thin was in, bringing the Tejano genre to America's mainstream music scene, her value of family, and her Latin heritage.
These are all valid reasons that will forever be remembered by fans of the fallen star, whose legacy lives on through listeners, and all the musicians she inspired, even as this March 31 will mark 25 years since her passing. The reason why I think Selena was a powerful woman is because of the emotional vulnerability exhibited in her songs. In today's age where women are called to abandon emotions for edge, it is important to listen to the female artist who chose not to make the sacrifice.
One of the hardest songs for me to listen to is Selena's "Dreaming of You." The song's delicate melody intertwined with Selena's loving voice evokes great emotions within my heart, and as a married woman today, the lyrics mean so much more to me than it did before when I was only a young girl playing her CD — which was passed down to me by my abuela — in my bedroom.
Selena was singing of a pure love — the kind that girls dream about growing up thanks to fairy tales and the old-school Disney princesses. A gentle, patient love that waits. The song, which was released posthumously in July 1995 — just a few months after the queen of Tejano music was taken from her family, and us all — has a chorus that shifts quite beautifully from beginning to end:
"Cause I'm dreaming of you tonight . . . there's nowhere in the world I'd rather be / Than here in my room dreaming about you and me" to "Now I'm dreaming of you tonight . . . there's nowhere in the world I'd rather be / Than here in my room dreaming with you endlessly."
"Dreaming of You" is a love song that will stand among the greatest of classics throughout all time. Its telling of a woman waiting to be with her soulmate, and then finally uniting with him to share their dreams together, is something that I, and many other females, will never forget.
Selena achieved and gave so much in the 23 years she lived on this earth. Her message of love is overwhelming, and overflowing with power. When I listen to songs like "I Could Fall in Love" and "Como La Flor," I am reminded of what it means to be a female.
To be a female is to hold feelings that are sometimes misunderstood by men, and oftentimes misunderstood by the world. In today's American society, females are especially encouraged to "think like a man" to move on up to higher positions, and while I agree that we must adapt to reach success, I also think that we must remain true to ourselves.
Selena did not hide how she felt to her fans, and she certainly did not hide it from men, who were the subject of many of her songs. Whether it be love or sorrow, Selena told her stories of womanhood to all who listened. She showed women everywhere that it is ok to love, to be upset, to cry, to feel. And to me, that is one more of the many reasons for us to continue to celebrate her life as a powerful Latina.