Jennifer Lopez Talks Selena’s Musical Legacy 20 Years After Her Death

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The world is remembering music superstar Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, who was shot and killed at just 23 years old by the former president of her fan club on March 31, 1995.

Jennifer Lopez famously portrayed the Mexican-American singer in a biographical film, Selena, in 1997. She reflected on Selena and her talent to Billboard in a recent interview.

“There is never going to be another Selena. And as far as music goes, that’s what’s beautiful about artistry…It’s a special thing that Selena had. That’s why we’re still talking about her 20 years later,” the 45-year-old singer/actress said.

Lopez believes that Selena is still such a beloved icon for several reasons.

“The grace with which she handled the business, the grace with which she handled her life, the humor. Her spirit of loving what she did. Her sense of family. That’s the tragedy of everything that ­happened and why she left such an imprint—because she was gone way too soon,” she explained.

Lopez remembers researching the role after she was tapped to play Selena, and realizing the brevity of the project.

“Right after I got the part, I knew I would be ­traveling to Corpus Christi and spending time with her ­family, but that wasn’t going to be for a few weeks, so they sent me tons of tapes to watch. I sat on my couch watching them for days and all of a sudden, the tape cut off on me. I was shocked. And I thought to myself, ‘That’s what happened.’ This amazing, beautiful spirit, full of joy and music and so much feeling, was just cut off in the middle of being. It affected me so much and made me realize the importance of what I was doing,” the mother of two recalled.

Selena inspired J-Lo to pursue her own music career which, of course, has made her one of the biggest stars in the world.

“It had a lot to do with it — all those performances. I sang in musicals before, but as part of a cast, never as a solo artist upfront or a recording ­artist. It made me realize, ‘Don’t neglect parts of yourself and let people put you in a box because you’re an actress. You can do this, and you can also do that. Life is short, and you don’t know what’s going to happen. Go for your dreams and don’t let anyone hold you back.'”

Selena, we’ll never forget you.

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