Jenni Rivera will always be remembered as a legend (VIDEO)
The tragic and umtimely death of Jenni Rivera has left us without words. "La Diva de la Banda," as she was rightly known, has left an indelible mark on the history of regional Mexican music. She was born on July 2, 1969 in Long Beach, California, and throughout her life the 43-year-old mom of five remained an example of perseverance and success to the Latino community in the U.S.
Jenni was living the so-called American Dream, thanks to her hard work and determination. Little by little, she became more and more well-known to audiences everywhere, until she became the great musical icon she was when she passed away. Her innate talent helped her sell more than 15 million albums becoming the highest-earning grupera singer of all time. She even became the first regional Mexican female singer to ever sell out the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the city's biggest and most important arena.
Among the honors this star attained were numerous Billboard Latin Music Awards and four Latin Grammy nominations. To this list we have to add being one step away from embarking into mainstream territory, since it was recently revealed that La Diva had just signed a deal with ABC that would have her starring in her own sit-com about a head-strong single mom working and doing everything she could to help her kids get ahead... much like her real life. It was to be titled Jenni. She would have undoubtedly stolen the hearts of the viewers, much like she did with her Mun2 reality show I Love Jenni, which became that network's biggest hit and was now in its third season. She also had a weekly syndicated radio show and clothing and cosmetics lines.
But beyond her accomplishments as a businesswoman, actress, and singer, Jenni was also admired for her altruistic work, as she headed her non-profit Jenni Rivera Love Foundation, which was devoted to helping abused kids, cancer-stricken kids, single moms, undocumented workers, and women who were victims of domestic violence.
Her great work to benefit the Latino community is the restult of many experiences that the singer went through. She was the daughter of Mexican immigrants, who arrived in the U.S. when they crossed the border when her mom, Rosa Amelia Saavedra, was pregnant with Jenni.
Even though she became a teen mom at age 15, La Diva de la Banda was able to complete her degree in business administration and for a while worked in real estate as well as the record company that ther dad, Pedro Rivera, owned. It wasn't until 1999 when she decided to fully embrace music, when she signed a contract with Sony Music.
Her private life, though, always caused a stir. Mostly for all her legal troubles, but also because of her torrid romantic life. One of her ex husbands was accused of sexually abusing her daughter and sister. At present, she was in the middle of a bitter divorce from Mexican baseball player Esteban Loaiza; the relationship reportedly ended because of money problems, and some news outlets have even said that he had a relationship with Jenni's daughter, Janney "Chiquis" Marin, who the singer had been distanced from for some time.
Surviving the Mexican singer are her five kids 27-year-old Chiquis, 22-year-old Jacqui Marin, 20-year-old Michael Marin, 14-year-old Jenicka Lopez, and 11-year-old Johnny Angel Lopez; her two grandkids, and her brothers and sister.
Even though Jenni was already a highly successful recording artist and businesswoman, her biggest dream--as she recently said--was to become the Mexican Oprah Winfrey. It's sad that she could not see that one to fruition...
It's apparent, however, that her perseverance, her voice, her hard work in her career and for the Latino community, will remain in our hearts forever. From today on, Jenni has cemented herself as a leyend of Regional Mexican music.
Rest in peace, La Gran Señora.
Images via GettyImages