Google Celebrates Selena With New Animated Doodle

By Sameer Rao Oct 17, 2017

Today (October 17) marks a full 28 years since Selena Quintanilla-Pérez released her debut self-titled album. Google celebrates "Selena" and the artist—whose catchy mix of Mexican folk music and U.S. pop sensibilities made her one of the world’s most enduring Latinx music superstars—with a new animated Doodle today.

Like other music-related Doodles, the new illustration features an accompanying animated video (above). Set to Selena’s 1994 hit, "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom," the video loosely illustrates Selena’s story, as related in a Google blog post: 

Born in Lake Jackson, Texas on April 16, 1971, Selena’s talent shone from an early age. Strumming Nat King Cole’s “I’m in the Mood for Love” on guitar, Selena’s father listened to his daughter sing along, and immediately knew the bright future before her.

With encouragement from their father, nine year old Selena and her older siblings A.B. (guitar) and Suzette (drums) formed the beginnings of the Tejano sensation Selena y Los Dinos. Born in Texas, Tejano music (or “Tex-Mex”) blends Mexican and American sub-genres like pop, polka, ranchera, and cumbia. Widely popular across the TX/Mexico border since the 1800s, Selena y Los Dinos’ infectious brand of Tejano music popularized the genre to audiences globally.

Google Doodle executive Perla Campos wrote the blog post, which includes a description of how Selena influenced her sense of what Latinx women could accomplish in a patriarchal and xenophobic society: 

As the daughter of a Mexican immigrant single mom living in a small (primarily White) town in rural Texas, I was one of the people Selena and her legacy profoundly influenced. My love of music started with her. One of my dearest childhood memories is of my mom and I belting "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" and "Techno Cumbia" in the family van during our annual road trips to Mexico. …Aside from incredible dance moves and how to belt some serious notes, watching Selena taught me that being Latina was a powerful thing, and that with hard work and focus I could do whatever I set my mind to. Watching her showed me that this hybrid cultural identity of mine was a valuable gift I should embrace. Watching her made me proud of being Mexicana.

The "Queen of Tejano Music" cemented her popularity with Chicanx audiences before bringing Tejano to the pop mainstream over the six years after "Selena." That fame grew to mythic proportions in 1995, when Selena’s fan club president Yolanda Saldívar shot and killed her in a Corpus Christi, Texas hotel.

Campos’ post notes that Selena’s family collaborated with Google to create this Doodle. The Quintanillas, in partnership with Selena Museum in Corpus Christi, also curated a digital showcase of photos and memories for the Googles Arts & Culture platform.

Selena’s sister Suzette Quintanilla, who played drums in Selena y los Dinos, issued the following statement via Google:

My family and I are honored and extremely excited to have worked with Google on this Doodle and exhibit launch, not only as a way to celebrate Selena’s life and the dreams she achieved, but as a tribute to Selena’s fans around the globe. This project is just yet another testament to the power of Selena’s legacy, which is still going strong 22 years [after her death]. Selena has always transcended cultural boundaries, and having this Doodle featuring a strong, Latina woman on the homepage of Google around the world is a perfect example that. We hope that everyone—both fans and people learning about Selena for the first time—enjoys this celebration and feels the positivity and hope Selena embodied and still continues to represent today.

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