MPs add ‘Selena’ to National Film Registry

The first was Selena Quintanilla-Perez, the seductive Latina singer who inspired a generation of artists and was killed at the peak of national fame. Then there was the movie “Selina”, which ignited her legend and inspired another Latina artist to stardom.

The tribute album, a Netflix series and podcast, followed, and now, more than two decades after the film’s 1997 release, is a group of lawmakers The emphasis is on adding “Selena” The National Film Registry said its inclusion could put Hollywood under pressure to increase Latin representation in the industry category. The effort of lawmakers was welcomed by experts in film and Latin studies, who called it a long time.

“It’s a recognition that Chiana and Latina talent in acting and representation,” said Theresa Delgadillo, a Chiana and Latina studies professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a female innovator at its center.

Selena exploded into the male-dominated Tejano music industry in Texas, winning critical acclaim, a huge following, and then a Grammy in 1994. He was shot and Killed a year laterOnly 23, by the founder of his fan club. His English-language debut, “Dreaming of You” was released posthumously.

A quarter century after her death, Selena remains a pop culture icon, particularly among Mexican-Americans and Latino from her native Texas. On Spotify, she has more than five million monthly listeners. This month, grammar Will respect him With a special merit award.

But the 1997 film, Jennifer Lopez, starring Selena and Edward James Olmos as her father, who also deserves recognition, said Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Democrat in Texas, led the effort in Congress. He said in an interview that Latino creators and their stories are often separated by the gatekeepers of American culture, such as Hollywood and the National Registry, and that, in all media, Latino’s are often exposed to negative stereotypes such as gang members, drug dealers The medium is painted. And women were hyposexual.

“Castro is still the institution defining the image in the United States,” Mr. Castro said of his project for more balanced representation. “For all of us who walk around with brown skin or a Spanish last name, we have to face stereotypes and assertions that have been created by the American media, and historically, some of the worst stereotypes have originated from Hollywood. “

In Letter Of the 38 members of the Congressional Hispanic Member of the Caucus, Mr. Castro wrote that the “boycott of Latino from the film industry” reflects “the way Latino is excluded from America’s full promise – a problem that will not be solved.” Until our stories can be told completely. “

He said that the National Film Registry “can help end that boycott by preserving important cultural and artistic examples of America’s Latin heritage.”

Every year, a committee selects 25 films to add to the national registry, which was established by the Congress in 1988. The registry contains examples of at least 17 Latino stories out of 800 films, including “El Norte”. “The Devil Never Sleeps” and “Real Women Have Curves” said Brett Zonker, a spokesman in the Library of Congress. Of the 11 Latino directors on the list, 9 are male and two are female.

Although the film registry tries to reflect diversity in the US, Mr. Zonker said, “Unfortunately, women and people of color have been featured in film history as directors in particular.”

The gap between who and what are American in major films extends to speaking roles. Although Latino made up the largest minority in the United States, Accounting for 18.5 percent Of population, a 2019 study It was found that from 2007 to 2018, only 4.5 percent of all speaking characters in 1,200 top-grossing films were Latino.

Mr. Castro said that he was still accumulating input on other films, but “Celina” as a particularly beloved film, is at the center of the effort. Frederick Luis Aldama, a Latino film and television professor at The Ohio State University, said that the film “shows the complexity, dignity, humanity and prosperity of a Latino father and his daughter, in fact shows us that we are not just” the last few years. According to the Twitter feeds from ‘Bad people’ are telling the world. ‘

Whether or not the film registry accepts this, a recent wave of appreciation for Selena’s work has swept through the entertainment industry.

“You have these types of artists that we lost during bloom,” said Daniel Chavez, a Latin American studies professor at the University of New Hampshire. “These young figures become legendary in a way.”

In addition to the upcoming Grammy, Selena was recognized Last year in the National Recording Registry for her recording, “th Conmigo.” A Netflix show, “Selena: The Series” premiered last year and will return in May. And a podcast about her legacy, titled “Anything for Selena”. Released its first episode Last week.

The host of the podcast, Maria Elena Garcia, said that struggling with her identity as a young girl, she was inspired by how Selena adopted her Mexican and American heritage.

“She was complete in both places,” Ms. Garcia said in an interview. “Even though she was not like the people born in Mexico, she told them, this is my heritage, and I can claim that too. She was incredibly deep for me, even though I was a little girl.”

Seeing her success, Ms. Garcia said Podcast, Felt like “He brought us with him.”

It was that sense of representation for the young Latina that led filmmaker Gregory Nava under the direction of “Selena”. While weighing in to make the film in the mid-1990s, Mr. Nava recalled walking in Los Angeles and seeing two young Mexican girls wearing Celina T-shirts. “Why do you love Selena?” He asked them.

“Because he looks like us,” he said.

“Our stories need to be told,” Mr. Nava said in an interview. “The young girls I’ve made ‘Selena’ have grown up and have young girls, and they need more beautiful pictures of us.”

Some scenes of “Selena” have magnified for many Latino, such as Selena and her father, Abraham Quintanilla, talking about problems Mexican-Americans are faced only by speaking English and Spanish. For different audiences.

“It’s hard to be Mexican-American,” Mr. Olmos says as Mr. Quintanilla. “If you don’t speak English perfectly, the Anglos jump on you. If you don’t speak Spanish perfectly then the Mexicans jump on you. We have to be doubly correct than anyone else.”

Ultimately, Celina became a role model for many Mexicans and Americans, but the film’s impact was arguably most felt at the Texas singer’s home. “Selena” was made on a small budget, Mr. Nava said, so when he wanted to recreate Selena’s last performance At the Astrodome in Houston, he turned to the community for help.

“I insisted that we shoot in Texas because I wanted to shoot in his land,” Mr. Nava said. “He was the earth, the sky, and the sun of Texas.”

In newspaper advertisements, they asked the community to dress as if they were going to Selena’s concert for the opening scene. Mr. Naveen said that more than 35,000 people showed up.

And the draw came out for other scenes, including one extra that was later elected to Congress, Mr. Castro.

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