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Revisiting the relationship between Selena and the woman convicted of murdering her


The Oxygen network is out with a new true crime docuseries, "Selena & Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them." It's a two-part series about the late Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, known simply as Selena, and the woman convicted of murdering her, Yolanda Saldivar.


YOLANDA SALDIVAR: I knew her secrets, and I think that people deserve to know the truth.

MARTÍNEZ: Saldivar says she wants to set the record straight. Selena's family did not take part in the docuseries, which comes about a year before Saldivar becomes eligible for parole. For more on this, we're joined now by Maria Garcia, creator and host of the podcast "Anything For Selena." Maria, did this documentary reveal anything new?

MARIA GARCIA: No, not really, A. You know, there are a ton of small details that the documentary tries to frame as, like, bombshell revelations but that are simply not. The documentary attempts to cast doubt on whether Yolanda was really embezzling from Selena prior to murdering her. Yolanda says that the checks she wrote to herself from Selena's business were so that she could cash the money and use it to pay for her and Selena to travel to see someone that Selena was supposedly having an affair with. There's absolutely zero proof of this, but the documentary still airs these baseless claims, and I think, A, the most distasteful thing the show does is present these empty accusations that Abraham, Selena's father, harassed Yolanda and that that somehow informed Yolanda's decision to murder Selena. Yolanda says she got the gun because - that ultimately killed Selena because her tires had been slashed, her brakes had been cut, and she was being followed. But again, zero evidence of this.

MARTÍNEZ: Now, I mentioned how Saldivar is going to be eligible for parole in March of 2025 - March 30, actually. She's serving a life sentence. What do you make of the timing of this docuseries?

GARCIA: Well, you know, I think as a lifelong fan of Selena, there's always been people trying to capitalize on her story. And it appears to me, based on the fact that this documentary doesn't present anything of substance, that it's a project that's doing just that, that's taking something that some people would argue is newsworthy and using it as an excuse to present these baseless claims in an effort to, frankly, make some money out of Selena's legacy.

MARTÍNEZ: How are fans reacting?

GARCIA: You know, we're obviously upset, A.


GARCIA: Like, this show didn't, in my opinion, like, bring any nuance. It had sort of these meaningless details and unverified letters and these baseless allegations. And all it did to me was thoughtlessly platform a killer and blame a victim and her family for her tragic murder. And these bizarre allegations against Selena have come up before, like I said. And what these projects tend to do is put Selena on trial when Yolanda pulled that trigger and has really never expressed genuine remorse.

MARTÍNEZ: It's been almost 30 years, as you mentioned. I mean, wow, I still can't believe it. It's almost like just - you just can't believe that she's gone because she's still alive in so many ways, right?

GARCIA: Yeah, absolutely. You know, we're so protective of Selena because Selena, for many of us, is us. For many of us...


GARCIA: ...Selena was the first celebrity who spoke and sounded like us. We care about her legacy because in a way...


GARCIA: ...It's the legacy of Latinos.

MARTÍNEZ: That's Maria Garcia, host of the podcast "Anything For Selena." Maria, thanks.


SELENA: (Singing) 'Cause I'm dreaming of you tonight till tomorrow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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