In this episode of Subcultura, we visit Fiesta de la Flor, a festival dedicated to honoring and showing tribute to iconic pop-star and Queen of Tejano music Selena. Though she died tragically more than 23 years ago, today the festival draws a crowd of over 50,000 still-devoted fans.
Host Avalon Lurks is one of them. Avalon heads to Corpus Christi, Texas—Selena’s hometown and, naturally, the site of Fiesta de la Flor—where she meets with two major Selena fans: Selena impersonator Honey Andrews and singer Becky G, both of whom have drawn personal and professional inspiration from Selena and her legacy.
“To me, she had something that a lot of people can relate to—she wanted to be accepted, just like a lot of LGBT people want to be accepted,” says Honey Andrews, a trans woman who moved to Corpus Christi when she was just nine years old. “She wanted to be accepted by everybody, whether that was in Mexico or in the US.” In her Selena impersonation performances, Honey Andrews is one of many Corpus Christi residents keeping the singer’s legacy alive through song and dance.
It’s not only fans in Selena’s hometown who still feel strongly connected to the singer. Mexican-American popstar and Fiesta de la Flor headliner Becky G is from LA, but she credits Selena with influencing her style and paving the way for Latina singers like herself. “I’m proud to be Mexican-American, I’m proud of my Mexican roots, but also very proud to be American as well,” she tells Avalon. “I think Selena symbolizes a generation and generations to come that are between two worlds. It’s like, why do I have to sacrifice one side for the other? Why can’t we be a part of both of them?” Selena brought dual-identity to the consciousness of the mainstream as something to lean into rather than shy away from, and in doing so, inspired many of her fans to be proud of the entirety of who they are.
That also means recognizing Selena’s own uniqueness and irreplaceability: “My tribute to Selena has always been to bring tribute to her, it’s never been to want to be her,” says Andrews, “because there will never be another Selena.”