LOS ANGELES (AP) – Some 4,500 fans gathered on Vine Street in Hollywood on Friday to pay tribute to the late Tejano music queen Selena Quintanilla, who was honored with the 2,622nd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Known simply as Selena, the singer-songwriter broke barriers for women in Latin music. She opened the floodgates for a new generation of contemporary artists of Latin descent who would go on to enjoy huge popularity with mainstream American audiences.
Selena was born in Texas in 1971. She died in 1995 at 23 after being shot by a business colleague.
Her music still resonates. As of 2015, Selena had sold more than 65 million units worldwide, making her the best-selling female artist in Latin music history.
According to a Hollywood Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman, Selena’s crowd was the largest-ever for a Walk of Fame ceremony, breaking a 1998 record set held by onlookers at the unveiling of the star for Mexican singer Vicente Fernandez.
“This is history in the making,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at the podium, repeating himself in Spanish.
“Selena was an angel,” he continued, which generated cheers. “And we thank the family for all they gave and have given this country, and it’s a message we need now more than ever. Because we aren’t strangers to this land, this is our home.”
Numerous celebrity guests at the ceremony included actor Edward James Olmos, who appeared in 1997 biopic “Selena,” starring Jennifer Lopez. “Desperate Housewives” actress Eva Longoria was the only one to go up to the dais.
“Selena’s voice was a key that unlocked the hearts and minds of millions,” Longoria said. “She was a small town girl with a big heart and a smile that radiated and captivated people everywhere. That small town was my hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas. And she was the face I finally saw that looked like mine.”
Selena was the youngest child of a mother of Cherokee ancestry and a father who is Mexican-American.
Selena’s sister Suzette was the last to speak, wrapping with Selena’s own words:
“‘The goal isn’t to live forever, but to create something that will.'”
At the ceremony’s end, the family stood together, posing for photographers. Musician Chris Perez, who was married to Selena, bent down to lay a small bouquet of white roses on his late wife’s Walk of Fame star.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Mike Cidoni on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cidonilennox