6 Reasons The Latina In Me Loves 'Selena: The Series'

Photo: Netflix
Selena

Growing up as a young Latina watching and listening to American media, there weren’t many Latina artists I could look up to.

Then one day, my father showed me a performance by a Tejano artist singing “Como La Flor” and I fell in love.

She embodied all of the dance moves I was taught growing up and sang in the language my family always spoke. Selena Quintanilla was definitely an inspiration for all young Latinas across the nation.

Her unexpected death devastated Latinx communities across America, as she was growing to be the community’s artistic representation of cross-cultural music and dance. Her death also left many questions, not only about what led to the tragic moment, but also who she was as a person.

The 1997 biopic starring Jennifer Lopez answered a lot of these questions and gave fans a deeper look into her life, but the new Netflix series, Selena: The Series, which stars Christian Serratos, gives fans a sense of the family dynamics at play and represents a lifestyle that so many young Latinas can relate to.

Here are 6 reasons why the young Latina in me is fangirling over Selena: The Series:

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1. The series exemplifies the struggles of growing up with strict and overprotective Latino parents.

My father didn’t even want to have a conversation with me about boys.

It was always simply: finish school before you have a boyfriend. I wasn’t allowed to hang out with boys, stay out past 5 p.m., or even leave the house without having finished my homework. 

In the series, there are multiple scenes of Selena making failed attempts to escape from home to go to a simple movie with friends, which speaks to many young Latinas’ experience having strict and overprotective parents, as it is a part of the culture.

Want to go to the movies? Nope. Want to go out to eat? Nope.

And if you do get that tiny glimpse of a yes, it comes with a plethora of restrictions. 

2. The series humanizes the struggle of balancing your passion and your relationships.

Details of Selena struggling to live a normal teenage life, such as difficulty balancing school, building relationships with friends and love interests, and being on tour come to fruition through this series.

The series follows Selena’s life in high school, where she becomes a bit distracted from her schoolwork due to extreme amounts of time invested in rehearsals and weekend gigs. Because of her limited time, she’s unable to explore her love interests and build friendships outside of the band.

Eventually, she’s pulled out of school to be homeschooled while she’s on tour and graduates a bit later. While this situation is a bit unique, every Latina can fathom the struggle of following your dream while also making time for the people you love. 

3. The young Latina in me completely understands the struggle to learn Spanish.

Growing up, Selena sang in Spanish, but actually didn’t learn fluent Spanish until later in life. She is a third generation Mexican-American who grew up speaking English at home her entire life.

The struggle as a Latina to learn your native tongue is a relatable experience for a lot of Latinas growing up in the U.S., including me. 

The discrimination faced when Latinos actually speak Spanish is a huge reason why a lot of Latinx parents don’t teach their children Spanish as their first language.

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Also, while many of us are proud to be Latinx, we often struggle with the need to assimilate due to societal pressure.

The challenge of being raised in the U.S., but having a family born somewhere else, is common for every second and third generation Latinos out there.

4. The Identity crisis of being American and being Latinx is real.

In the series, the Quintanilla family is determined to release an english crossover album, but the music company they are signed with seems to have other plans.

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The family then becomes frustrated and Selena is left with a serious identity crisis: Mexican or American? 

5. Her fashion sense, makeup and overall style represents Latinas everywhere.

Red lipstick. High waisted and curve-hugging denim. Crop tops. Selena was a fashion icon.

The series brings to life Selena’s love of fashion and her dream of opening up boutiques across the nation. It shows viewers how authentic Selena was and how she always stayed true to herself, even when she was battling a very sexist industry. 

For Latinas, red lipstick, hoop earrings and high-waisted denim are our lives. We’ve been rocking red lipstick since the beginning of time and won’t leave the house without it!

6. The series tells the authentic truth about Selena’s family dynamics.

Watching the series gives you a better understanding of the pressure Selena, AB and Suzette were under by their manager, who is also their father. 

And yet, even when tensions arise, you can see the love and admiration their father has for them and the love they have for each other in the series — especially between Selena and Suzette.

AB and Suzette are always happy for Selena when she wins an award and take her success and their own success, rather than feeling enraged and envious.  

This is the dynamic of plenty of Latino families: pressure from parents and silly little arguments, but all out of love.

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Angelique Beluso is a sex educator and writer who covers feminism, pop culture and relationship topics.