Jennifer Lopez owes a lot to Selena Quintanilla.
Playing the iconic Tejano singer in a 1997 biopic was what launched J.Lo’s career, and her tribute to Selena, who was murdered 20 years ago, at Thursday’s Billboard Latin Music Awards was just perfect.
A montage of Selena pics played on the screens behind J.Lo as she took the stage with Los Dinos, Selena’s band, to perform a number of the fallen singer’s biggest hits. Through “Como La Flor,” “Bidi Bidi Bam Bam,” “Amor Prohibido,” “I Could Fall in Love” and “No Me Queda Mas,” the crowd danced and sang along, many of them visibly emotional.
“Hands up for Selena and Los Dinos,” Lopez said to the crowd. “Sing with me!”
The performance earned Lopez a standing ovation as she thanked the crowd and said, “We love you, Selena.”
Selena was the star who made Tejano music an American trend. Even two decades after her death, she continues to gain new fans, and six posthumous releases have earned her No. 1 spots on Latin Album charts, most recently in 2012.
Two years ago, Lopez opened up about Selena in an interview with Billboard.
“People like that don’t come along every day,” she said. “There is never going to be another Selena.”
She continued, “The fact that she was so young and doing all of these things that people go through that maybe she wasn’t ready for. The clothing line she was starting, getting married so young, things like that. I felt she had a sense to live in the moment, that you’re not promised tomorrow. For me, that was the biggest lesson. That affected me in my life far more profoundly than the movie did in career terms.”
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