March 31st marks the twentieth anniversary of the death of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez. Called “The Queen of Tejano Music,” Quintanilla-Pérez was shot dead by her friend and former employee Yolanda Saldívar in Corpus Christi, after confronting Saldívar over embezzling funds from her boutiques.
Stephanie Bergara is the lead singer for a 10-piece Selena tribute band called Bidi Bidi Banda, named after one of Quintanilla-Pérez’s most famous songs. Bergara says that ever since she was little, she’s looked up to the artist for her fashion, beauty and talent.
“I always wanted to be Selena,” Bergara says. “I wanted to look like her, I wanted to dress like her, I wanted to dance like her.”
The 23 year-old’s music broke record and barriers for Latin music in the U.S., especially for the popularity of Tejano music. For many, including Bergara, her death still resonates just as loudly as it did 20 years ago.
“My mom was picking me up from school, she had my little brother with me and I remember seeing him run down the sidewalk from my elementary school,” Bergara says. “I remember he runs up to me and he says, ‘Selena’s been killed.'”
“There was a grey cloud over everything for a while there.”
The Fiesta de la Flor annual music festival is a two day celebration of the life of Quintanilla-Pérez, held in downtown Corpus Christi. On April 17 and 18, Tejano musicians and admirers will congregate in North Bayfront Park to pay tribute to Quintanilla-Pérez’s contributions to Tejano music.
“It is sad, it’s bittersweet that all of the artists that Selena loved and of her fans will be there and she won’t,” Bergara says. “It is really bittersweet, but it’s a true testament to who she was and how impactful she was on peoples lives.”