On the last day of March 1995, shocked and confused fans around the world heard the news of the death of Selena Quintanilla (almost always, simply Selena), the Queen of Tejano music, who had died at just 23 years of age.
The cause: murder. The killer: her best friend and president of her fan club.
With a career that started at just ten years of age, Selena had a life devoted to showing business. From her humble beginnings singing (sometimes just for food and gas money) alongside her father in their band, Selena y Los Dinos, to the gigantic status that she had gained by the mid-1990s, the ascent to fame of Selena was unheard of among artists from the Latino community in the United States.
Named by Billboard magazine as the best-selling Latin artist of the decade, her death meant the death of the whole of Tejano music as a mainstream genre, and it’s a tragedy still remembered by millions of people who enjoyed her music as much as her sweet and charismatic personality.
A quarter-century after her death, we review ten interesting facts about that dark Friday at Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1995.
10 Her Best Friend Was Embezzling Money
Yolanda Saldívar is the name of who once was Selena’s best friend and manager. After approaching her father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr., in 1990 with a request to form a fan club in San Antonio, Texas, she became a member of his daughter’s close circle and one of the people that Selena trusted more, eventually becoming manager of her boutiques in early 1994.
But Saldívar didn’t pay back her trust: by January 1995, she had embezzled over $30,000 from her businesses, and the supposed fan club that she had started. When her father revealed all of this to her, she refused to believe him… at first.
9 The Fan Club Scams
But then came also the concerns about the supposed fan club. Although some people were receiving the club’s paid merchandise, by early 1995, Quintanilla Jr. started receiving a large number of angry letters stating the dissatisfaction and anger of fans that didn’t get anything of what they were promised after paying the entry fee of $22.
Concrete evidence was starting to pile up against Saldívar, and Quintanilla Jr., Selena’s father, was beginning to suspect that something was very, very wrong.