Selena Quintanilla’s Convicted Killer Yolanda Saldívar Stars in a New Controversial “Tell All”

Graphic design featuring portraits of Selena Quintanilla, the iconic Queen of Tejano music, and Yolanda Saldívar.

Selena Quintanilla is known in the Latino community not only as the “Queen of Tejano Music” and a symbol of Latina empowerment but also as someone whose life was taken far too soon. Her tragic death at the hands of someone she trusted left an indelible mark on Latino culture. To this day, Latinos keep Selena alive through her music, but the singer’s memory has arguably not been left to rest.

At the age of 23 and only two weeks before her 24th birthday in 1995, Selena was fatally shot by Yolanda Saldívar. Saldívar, who started as the president of Selena’s fan club, became her business associate and close friend. However, it was discovered that Saldívar had been embezzling money from the Selena Etc. clothing boutiques she was managing. Two days after the singer confronted her, Saldívar bought a gun at a shooting range, and the rest is history.

Recently, Selena’s name is back in the headlines, not due to her legacy or power as a Latina, but rather in connection to the woman who took her life. Oxygen, a TV network focused on true crime and drama shows, is releasing a new true crime documentary called “Selena & Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them” on February 17.

In previews for the docuseries, Yolanda Saldívar breaks her silence after 30 years, vowing to “set the story straight.” Through a series of interviews from a Texas prison where she’s currently serving her life sentence, Saldívar discusses her relationship with Selena. Additionally, members of Saldívar’s family share never-before-seen documents and recordings, claiming, “This is not a simple case of murder.”

The news quickly went viral online following the release of the docuseries’ preview, with the Latino community and others banding together on social media to express their outrage. The majority of the critiques stem from the focus of the docuseries being on Saldívar, which many commentators argued gives her a platform to attempt to revise history as if anything she could argue could excuse or possibly even justify her crime.

Commentators also point out the timing of the Oxygen docuseries and how it’s coming out not only close to the 29th anniversary of Selena’s death but also at a time when it benefits Saldívar the most. According to public records from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Saldívar will be eligible for parole on March 30, 2025.


This really boils my blood 🙂 #selena #selenaquintanilla #yolandasaldivar #selenaquintanillaperez #chrisperez #selenanetflix

For context, parole is granted for reasons like good behavior, rehabilitation or remorse, or low risk of re-offending. Parole allows convicted prisoners to get out of prison and start fresh under supervision. With that in mind, the impression the preview has left on most commentators is that Saldívar and her family are taking advantage of Selena’s legacy to have the best possible chance at parole.

The claims Saldívar is making drives that impression as she states she has been holding onto Selena’s “secrets” and wants people to know the truth now. According to her, part of that truth is that the murder was an accident, which is the same argument she used on trial for her defense.

However, this argument didn’t hold up in Saldívar’s trial in 1995 and it currently doesn’t hold up in the court of public opinion. Among the people slamming the docuseries is Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, who spoke up about it, stating that Saldívar has no credibility in the eyes of the public.

The situation has also sparked a conversation about how exploitative true crime content often is, with many people pointing at the Oxygen docuseries as an example of that. While some claim they will still watch the docuseries out of curiosity, most are discouraging the support of such a project.

The loudest voices in defense of Selena and her memory are coming from the Latino community, but people of all races and from all over the world are expressing how shocked they are that Saldívar was given a platform. Whether the effort will move the needle in Saldívar's favor when it comes to parole remains to be seen.

a photograph of Gloria Anzaldúa with a hat with the sea behind her

In the heart of the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, a beacon of hope and resilience was born. On September 26, 1942, Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa came into a world that wasn't quite ready for her. As a Chicana, a lesbian, and a feminist, Anzaldúa was set to challenge a predominantly Anglo-American and heteronormative society in a way that would forever change the discourse surrounding queer and Chicano identities.

Keep ReadingShow less