Feb 21, 2024 - News

What to know about the new docuseries "Selena and Yolanda"

Selena and Yolanda together in an old photo.

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez and Yolanda Saldívar. Photo: Courtesy of Oxygen True Crime

A new documentary series reexamines the murder of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, San Antonio's favorite Tejano superstar.

What's happening: The two-episode documentary, "Selena and Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them," premiered over the weekend on Oxygen True Crime. It's also available to stream on Peacock.

  • It's directed and produced by Billie Mintz, who's known for feature-length documentaries like "Jesus Town, USA."

Why it matters: The docuseries tries to cast a new light on the relationship between Selena and Yolanda Saldívar, the former fan club president from San Antonio convicted of her murder.

  • It includes the first English interview Saldívar has given in decades.
  • It casts Saldívar as a friend and confidant of Selena, not an obsessed fan who went off the rails, as many '90s tabloids at the time portrayed her.

Catch up fast: Saldívar shot Selena on March 31, 1995, at a Days Inn in Corpus Christi when the singer was 23 years old, following accusations that Saldívar was stealing money from Selena's businesses.

  • The crime was dramatized in the 1997 movie "Selena."

Of note: Saldívar is up for parole in March 2025 after serving 30 years of her life sentence. The 63-year-old is incarcerated at the Patrick O'Daniel Unit in Gatesville, Texas.

State of play: Some fans have criticized the docuseries as exploiting Selena's memory.

The big picture: No one interviewed in the series denies that Saldívar shot Selena. But Saldívar and her family say the shooting was an accident and that Saldívar was under emotional duress as a victim of controlling men in Selena's life.

  • Saldívar did deny embezzling money from Selena's businesses, a key accusation that eventually led to Selena's murder, prosecutors said.
  • Saldívar has never been charged with embezzlement or theft from Selena or her businesses, per the docuseries.

What they're saying: "I was convicted by public opinion even before my trial started," Saldívar says from prison in the documentary.

  • She apologizes to fans and says she misses Selena, too.

Details: Selena's father and manager, Abraham Quintanilla, accused Saldívar of stealing money after finding checks she wrote from the businesses to herself.

  • But Saldívar said she did so to purchase plane tickets in secret for Selena to visit a plastic surgeon in Mexico, with whom she was allegedly having an affair.
  • Producers said they could not substantiate that claim.
  • Saldívar says she helped Selena cover up the affair to protect her reputation.

Zoom in: Saldívar and her family say Abraham Quintanilla was controlling of Selena's time and thought her businesses — like the clothing boutique in San Antonio run by Saldívar — were a distraction from her music career.

  • Saldívar bought a gun from A Place to Shoot in San Antonio because she was frightened of Abraham Quintanilla, she said.

The other side: Abraham Quintanilla declined producers' requests for comments, but has previously denied many of Saldívar's assertions and called her a liar.

  • He told TMZ that Selena's family was not involved in and did not support the docuseries.
  • Prosecutors defended their case and pushed back on Saldívar's claims throughout the docuseries.
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