Jenni Rivera & Selena: We shouldn't compare the deaths of 2 Latina legends (VIDEOS)
Since Sunday when Jenni Rivera's untimely death was confirmed, I have seen countless articles comparing Jenni Rivera with another deceased Latina legend, Selena Quintanilla. This really, really bothers me. Yes, both died tragically, both were Mexican American, and both were about to achieve crossover stardom as they prepared to take over the mainstream market when they died--but the similarities end there.
To start, Jenni Rivera was almost 20 years older than Selena, and what a life she had! During those two decades, la Diva de la Banda lived more than many of us would live in a while lifetime. Jenni was a true señora, with five kids, three ex husbands, many high and many lows.
She had recorded 13 albums with more than 15 million in sales, in this, the era of digital music. All of those were born from sweat and tears, going against the grain in a banda music world dominated by men.
I'm not trying to deny Selena's influence and impact. Not at all. I think had she been allowed to live as long as Jenni, she may have probably been bigger than Jennifer Lopez herself. But the actual truth is that Jenni Rivera's career soared to heights Selena only dreamed of. Her real fame came after her death. Before then, she was only really known by lovers of tejano music.
Jenni has left an impact that includes TV and radios shows. Her moment came when Mexican music has been slowly gaining notice as an important and popular movement among not just Latin America, but here among U.S. Latinos.
Jenni Rivera had already taken the leap. Not only could she transition from a corrido to a ranchera without missing a beat, she filled each and every song with her own lyrics, all inspired in the difficulties she faced in her life. She belted out pop ballads as easily as the guttural banda songs she was so adept with. Her last album Joyas Prestadas was edited into a pop version, and it was a huge success. She had already started to be recognized outside of the Mexican category, and become more of a global artist.
But even though Selena had her foundation, no one can deny that Jenni was a fighter for immigrants, sick kids, and battered women. La Diva de la Banda gave openly to the most needy, always. Her real legacy, beyond music, was being a source of inspiration for all those that were going through rough moments. We read her story and realize that it's possible for all of us to get ahead.
At the end of the day, while Selena gained her legend status after after her death, Jenni had already become a legend in life. But her legacy is much, much greater than that. In 50 years, there will still be women victims of domestic violence who will gather the courage to leave their husbands thanks to La Diva de la Banda, and her songs, which will keep playing forever.
See a couple of videos of these two great Latina artists, and see for yourself that they don't have much in common.
Jenni Rivera "La Diva de la Banda":
Image via Splash News