On the podcast Anything for Selena, Apple Podcasts’ Show of the Year of 2021, Maria García combines rigorous reporting with impassioned storytelling to honor Selena's legacy. She also explores the indelible mark she left on Latino identity and belonging, whether it’s fatherhood, big-butt politics, and the fraught relationship with whiteness and language.
Selena and Me
Growing up along the US-Mexico border, Maria Garcia felt torn between her two identities as Mexican and American. But then, something changed her life. She discovered Selena Quintanilla— the Mexican-American pop icon who proved she didn’t have to choose. In the premiere episode of “Anything for Selena,” host Maria Garcia explores how Selena helped Maria find her own place in the world.
Selena and Abraham
Maria knows that to truly understand Selena as a person and not just an icon, she needs to go to Corpus Christi. Maria’s quest takes her to Abraham Quintanilla, Selena Quintanilla’s notoriously guarded father. Maria confronts his complicated legacy and reflects on fatherhood in Latinx cultures.
Birth of a Symbol
In her life, Selena was a symbol of hope. She became a role model for how Latinos could achieve the American dream and find acceptance. But a forgotten culture war following her death painted a different picture. In the 25 years since her murder, Selena’s image has taken on new meaning. In this episode, Maria traces how Selena became a symbol for solidarity and resistance.
Big Butt Politics
Nearly 30 years ago, Sir-Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back (I Like Big Butts)” hit the airwaves to the delight and shock of listeners. Today, the obsession with big butts is still strong with idols like Cardi B and Beyonce. It has also permeated white culture, with Kim Kardashian “breaking the internet” and butt selfie queen Jen Selter. Maria has a theory about how big butts went from taboo to obsession--and it involves Selena and Jennifer Lopez. She uncovers that booty politics is ultimately about race and brings us to a long overdue conversation about anti-blackness within the Latinx community.
Episode 5. Selena is often called the "Queen of Tejano music." In the 1990s, she brought this underdog genre to international heights. Tejano award shows were glitzy affairs and Tejano radio DJs were like rock stars in Texas and the Southwest. Even the New York Times called it the fastest-growing Latino genre in the country. But when Selena died, Tejano went from boom to bust. The story of Tejano's decline isn't so simple, though. Maria discovers that it's a story of immigration, money and how two often-ignored groups were pitted against each other.
Selena Quintanilla may have built her career singing Spanish songs, but she didn’t grow up speaking Spanish at home. She learned Spanish in the public eye, and her mistakes became some of her most famous and endearing moments. In this episode, Maria explores why Selena’s Spanglish seemed so revolutionary for its time, and yet so familiar to many fans who also struggled with the language of their heritage. The exploration takes us to an unexpected place.
You speaking to my soul Maria/Mary🇲🇽💙 (therapeutic too)!!! 1997 Chelly thanks you from the bottom of her heart
Best podcast I listened to this year
Such a beautiful podcast. You neeeeddddd to listen. You won’t regret it.