My grandpa once told my grandma that if they were ever not physically together, to remember that “cuando la paloma canta mi alma está.” Or, “when the morning doves sing, my spirit is with you.” Recently M.I.A. made an important statement about the question of political music: “Leaving politics out of music is a new concept,” she said. It's not an old concept. Slaves sang when they fvcking crossed the river. It's a new thing for us to remove that in order to make monetization easy.”
Selena died in 1995 and in 2015 we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the passing of her body, and the movement to keep her fight for total culture alive. But before we even begin to crack at the political importance of the Selena movement, I need to contextualize the conversation with my grandma, grandpa, and M.I.A. Together, they begin to show the interconnectedness of music and the brown body through history, memory, and communication.
In an age where institutionalized racism through police is breaking the voice boxes of young black bodies and we are literally politicizing the words, “I cannot breathe,” there is a particular relevance of the cries, wails, screams, and statements of the colonized body. Those sounds are at the center of why we join mass movements against white supremacy, and we can relate that relevancy to land and therefore to capital. Music has been what many people have used throughout history to survive, communicate, and touch time and space in a collective way.
It is with great urgency and desperation that we recognize that the Selena issue of “The Media” is coming out on both International Workers Day, May Day, and during a powerful and tactful moment in the United States, especially Baltimore.
Originally, this introduction on Selena Quintanilla Perez was to focus on her effect on intersectionality of race, culture, Mexican Americanism, and the Brown body. She defies aspects of Western beauty and normative music culture both for Tejano music lovers and U.S. Pop music fans alike. Her music became a timeless vessel that lives on long after her body crossed back . . .