How Selena broke barriers to become a music icon

By CNN Staff

Published April 16, 2020

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Selena Quintanilla Perez inspired many with her music, style and spirit. But the superstar's life was tragically cut short when she was murdered in 1995. On April 16, Selena would have celebrated her 49th birthday.

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Here are some defining moments in the artist's career.

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Selena took home her first Grammy in 1994 for best Mexican-American album. It also marked another accomplishment: She became the first female Tejano artist -- which was a male-dominated genre at the time -- to win in that category.


Selena performed several times at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo at the Astrodome to sold-out crowds of more than 60,000 people. Legendary artists such as Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson have also played the event.

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Her 1995 crossover album "Dreaming of You," which was released after her death, went to the top of the Billboard 200. Selena was the first Latin artist to debut atop the list.

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Selena's impact on music and culture is still felt to this day.

  • Netflix is developing a scripted show "Selena: The Series," which was slated to premiere this year.

  • Forever 21 launched a clothing line inspired by the fashionista.

  • MAC Cosmetics is launching a second makeup collection in her honor, which will surely include a tribute to her signature bold, red lipstick.

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