Review: “Selena: The Series” portrays Selena Quintanilla as a side character in her own story

Christian Serratos in “Selena: The Series”

As someone who grew up listening to the famous Mexican American artist Selena Quintanilla and learning about her history, I had to begin watching “Selena: The Series” with an open mind.

I didn’t know what to expect from the series when it premiered on Netflix last Friday.

Overall, though, I liked it and had moments where I sang along and laughed with the characters while watching it with my sister and mom. It gave me new insights into how Quintanilla’s family felt and a behind-the-scenes look at her rise to fame.

The series includes the Quintanilla family, Chris Perez, Ricky Vela, Pete Astudillo and Joe Ojeda. I didn’t know much about Astudillo and Ojeda until this series, but Astudillo was a backup singer for Selena, and Ojeda was a keyboardist for the band.

I was watching the show with my mom on Saturday when she mentioned how she remembers Astudillo when he would play with Selena, but I had inexplicably never heard of him. My mom was one of the lucky fans that got to see Selena during her lifetime.

The series was technically accurate but didn’t show an authentic version of who Quintanilla was.

Before her rise to fame Selena did look and dress the way the creators developed her character in the series. I loved the looks the show incorporated from her earlier days, but they weren’t her iconic ones, which came later in her life.

Two notable outfits from the series included the cow print outfits the band wore and the white bustier and pants teased in the trailer. But some of her most famous outfits like the purple jumpsuit and fire red ensemble were not included in the first part of the series.

The audience sees a glimpse of her beginning. They see her love for fashion and the many hairstyles she went through before her iconic long, straight hair made its debut.

Despite these wins fans got from the series, it did not give Selena — and who she was — justice.

When the series was first announced, I hoped it would give us more of an insight into her life and who she was or that it would give us a similar story to the 1997 Selena movie but for a new generation.

It did neither.

Instead, it treated Quintanilla as any other character and not the main character of the series. The producers should have advertised it differently or named it something else to reflect that.

Her story is so much more than being a side character.

Selena was known to dance her heart out, and she had a pivotal role in the rise of Selena y Los Dinos.

But Selena’s character in the series was quiet — the opposite of who she was in reality.

Selena learned Spanish to sing and write at a very young age. To this day, she is one of the few Mexican American singers whom I look up to because she was one of the few Mexican American singers I grew up with who showed people what Latinos can do. I related to this especially growing up in a country where I primarily speak English but still have a strong connection to my culture.

I hope the second part of the series gives her more justice to who she was as a person.


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