On Saturday, an event honoring Selena Quintanilla took place despite the legal threat from her family. Eric Lee Tunchez, a resident of Corpus Christi, Texas, moved forward with his community event in the Molina area even after the Quintanilla family advised him not to. Now the family alleges he was using Selena’s image for profit.
According to the Caller-Times, the Quintanilla’s legal team sent a letter to Stop Bullying Inc., Tunchez’s organization, stating that it “engaged in the ‘unauthorized and unlawful marketing and promotion’ of a Selena-themed ‘fiesta’ entitled as Fiesta de Selena Mural.” Tunchez, however, told the Caller-Times, that he had gotten permission to redo a 1995 Selena mural that was dedicated by a local high school last year.
“I am hoping any artist who has a concept and would love to help us repaint the mural to reach out to me,” Tunchez said last year. “We hope this fresh new start can bring our community together again and revitalize the nostalgia of our neighborhood. Selena’s neighborhood.”
Selena’s dad, Abraham Quintanilla, told the local newspaper that he never approved the makeover of this particular mural or the event that Tunchez organized. The legal notice was sent to Tunchez on August 2, and the event on Saturday, August 3 went ahead as planned.
New York artist San Sigüenza created the new mural, and Selena’s father said it was their estate that paid the artist to redo the painting. “[Tunchez] didn’t pay one penny…and is taking credit for everything,” Abraham told the Caller-Times.
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Earlier this week I was on a press tour here in France, regarding some projects I’m working on , been here 2 months! and the person I was talking to asked me what my inspirations for designing were and I told her , she didn’t know Selena also designed her own clothing etc. An amazing talent just starting to blossom really at 23 , a life cut so short. #selenaquintanilla #selenaquintanillaperez 3/31 / 1995 we miss you baby girl💜 and may we never forget where we come from, what we are capable of and the things and people that inspire us most 💜 #selena23 #selenaforever
This isn’t the first time the Quintanilla family has gone after several entities and independent vendors for their use of Selena’s image. Earlier this year, HipLatina spoke to Etsy vendor Leslie Saiz who was told that her items were in violation.
“I didn’t make the pin to make money. I am truly just a Selena fan who wanted a cool Selena product. The art for my pin was 100 percent created from scratch. It does not reference any picture out there that anyone owns rights to,” she said. Saiz goes on to add that she was being respectful of their rights and brand while contributing to keeping Selena’s memory alive. She said it left a bad taste in her mouth that the family was actively threatening small Latinx businesses over the production of Selena art and products.
Aside from the presentation of the new Selena mural, event guests were also treated to music, a Selena look-a-like contest, best dance performance, and photo ops with low riders.
“I understand, respect, and agree that people should not profit from Selena,” Tunchez said in a Facebook post. “It is very important to keep Selena clean. I’ve been inspired and she is a local icon and I in no way want to disrespect the family of Selena. My intent for today’s event is benign and is for the community of the Molina neighborhood. The corporate powers want to stop today’s event, which I planned to hand out backpacks to disadvantaged families. Today, I received a love letter (cease and desist letter) by the estate of the Selena Quintanilla. We may need to go through a legal battle to compromise something for the community in which where this mural stands.”