Selena: the series Creator Moisés Zamora spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet over the phone to tell the story of Selena and her family on Netflix. We’ll have more with Zamora this weekend, but first a preview of what you’ll see on Selena. The show premieres December 4 on Netflix.
‘Selena: The Series’ creator struggled with her crossover too
Zamora grew up in an American-Mexican community in California. He said he often hears songs from Selena at weddings and quinceaneras. Zamora said he was a high school student when Selena passed away. It was also when his English album Dreaming of you out of.
I just started seeing some of my high school friends who weren’t Latino or didn’t grow up with her start singing it and loving it. It was a bit shocking because my two worlds were a bit separate. Now they were colliding and I didn’t know what to do with them. I was so irritated that they were singing Selena because I felt a little possessive over who she was to us. But I understood and she helped me understand my Mexican-American identity. We grew up separating these worlds, but when they come together it really feels like you’re really whole, or developing your own identity at such a young age. I think it was part of this growing process for me.
Moisés Zamora, interview with Showbiz cheat sheet, 20/11/2020
Moisés Zamora brought together various writers to capture the full scope of “Selena: the series”
To further capture Selena’s cross-appeal, Zamora made sure Selena: the series the writers included Latin American and African American writers and many women. It was also important for Zamora to include Latinx writers who came from different Mexican-American cultures.
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“We wanted to make sure we didn’t have a blind spot to explain this from one point of view,” Zamora said. “In addition, there is great diversity in terms of identity and within the Latin American community, especially within the Mexican-American community. Second and third generation Mexican Americans in South Texas are not 100% culturally in tune with the people of Chicago, Washington or California. So there was even diversity among Mexican-American writers. We had four from Texas. For the family, it was important to channel South Texas.
The singer had the same difficulties as her fans
Selena: the series shows eight-year-old Selena at the end of her life. A teenager in Corpus Christi, Texas, Selena Quintanilla fostered her American influences.
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“I wanted to be able to see the evolution of Selena and how the kids handled it, how she wanted to sing in English,” Zamora said. “She was first an American teenager. She adored Jodi Whatley, Janet Jackson and she pushed for those songs in English but the opportunities just weren’t there at the time. Because of the immigrant workforce and the connection to that community they had, they wanted a specific type of music that was always a part of their life.
Fans know that Selena is finally releasing music in English. Zamora said Selena: the series shows that the Quintanillas develop their Mexican side along the way.
“It was something that she had to learn and that they had to embrace,” Zamora said. “In the end, it paid off. This paved the way for that mainstream crossover that ultimately happened for her, even though it was after her death. It was really important and it was also important for the family to make sure it was authentic, that they were English at home and that there was some Spanish here and some Spanish there- low. Slowly, they adopted this second language and this Mexican identity.