26.2k readers

Everything The J. Lo Movie Got Wrong About The Meteoric Rise And Tragic End Of Selena Quintanilla

Updated October 15, 2019 26.2k views13 items

The Queen of Tejano enchanted the music world in the 1990s, and everyone wanted to know the true story of Selena Quintanilla. In fact, the singer's record-breaking album, Dreaming of You, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, and it was the first time a Latinx artist ever earned the top spot. Tragically, though, Selena did not witness the success of her last album. On March 31, 1995, the disgraced president of Selena's fan club ended the singer's life. Selena was only 23 years old when she joined the list of musicians who died too young.

The 1997 J. Lo movieSelena, captured many facets of the late singer's life, including her infectious smile, sensational voice, and commitment to family. The film, which rocketed Jennifer Lopez to stardom and inspired her singing career, became one of the highest grossing biopics in history. But like any movie based on a real-life person, Selena changed some details about the young woman's life and career. Selena's widower Chris Pérez has come forward with facts about what the Selena movie didn't exactly get right.

In 2018, Selena fans rejoiced to learn that Selena: The Series on Netflix will depict the star's life in even greater detail.

  • The Washing Machine Scene Never Happened

    In a fan-favorite scene, Selena's mother Marcella Quintanilla teaches her youngest daughter a unique dance move called the washing machine. But Selena's real-life father Abraham Quintanilla said the scene never occurred. Suzette Quintanilla, the late singer's sister, noted that while the entire scene isn't based on fact, real events did inspire it.

    "We would go, as a family, down by the water and we would hang out there, and we would talk and just be a family basically," Suzette explained.

  • Producers Didn't Make A Good Casting Decision, According To Some Fans

    Before Selena premiered, some loyal fans of the late singer protested Jennifer Lopez's casting. As Entertainment Weekly reported in 1996, Lopez faced backlash because of her Puerto Rican heritage. Considered a relatively unknown actress at the time, J. Lo seemed far from the perfect person to represent the Mexican American singer, Selena.

    Lopez later responded to the controversy, "I know a few people were protesting, but in [Selena's hometown] everyone has been really supportive."

  • Selena Fans Didn't Love J. Lo's Moves

    While many praise Jennifer Lopez for her portrayal of Selena Quintanilla, some Selena fans objected to the younger artist's depiction. For example, when real-life Selena sang, she often held the microphone so close to her mouth that her signature red lipstick would coat it. 

    The late singer's shows ended with mics covered in makeup, but the film completely missed the note. To some fans, this oversight signaled the movie's lack of attention to detail.

  • The Movie Relocated One Of Selena's Legendary Performances

    One of Selena Quintanilla's last performances took place at the Houston Astrodome on February 26, 1995. Just weeks later, the former president of the singer's fan club stole Selena's life. Selena recreated the noteworthy performance and even duplicated the Mexican American singer's memorable purple outfit.

    However, the movie made one small change: instead of filming at the Astrodome, the producers chose to move production to the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX.