It’s been 29 years since beloved Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla was murdered by her fan club president and boutique manager Yolanda Saldívar after she was accused of financial embezzlement. Though she received a life sentence for the crime, Saldívar, who was 34 at the time of the murder, will be eligible for parole on March 30, 2025 after serving 30 years. This week, the true crime network Oxygen announced that Saldívar would share her version of events for the first time in a two-part limited docuseries titled Selena & Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them, premiering later this month. The series features interviews with Saldivar and her family as well as never-before-seen documents and recordings, according to the press release. “After so many years, I think it’s time to set the story straight,” Saldivar says in the promo. “I think the people deserve to know the truth.” Unsurprisingly, the announcement has received waves of backlash from Selena fans and the Latinx community, who have accused Saldívar and the network of exploiting the tragedy for views and profit, all so she can allegedly set the record straight and tell a side of the story that, according to fans, no one wants to hear.
In the X post the network shared promoting the series, commenters called the network “shameful” and shared their distaste for the series. One commenter wrote, “This is disgusting! We don’t need to hear her keep saying this was an accident when she shot Selena in the back as she was running from the room.”
Selena kicked off her music career at an early age as the leader singer of her family band Selena y Los Dinos, where she performed alongside her older siblings. She rose to fame in the late ’80s and released five best-selling albums that redefined Latin and Tejano music as what we know it today, winning a Grammy in 1993 for her live album Live! After her father appointed super-fan Yolanda Saldívar as her fan club president, she quickly rose the ranks and became manager of Selena’s fashion boutiques as well. Though Selena clearly trusted Saldivar and they were close, their relationship began to fracture when Selena’s family accused Saldivar of embezzling funds from the boutiqute. When Selena, then 23, went alone to confront her in a motel room, Saldívar shot her and Selena later died in the hospital from the blood loss. Decades later, Selena is still remembered for her undeniable impact on music, Latin culture, and fashion, and her life has gone on to be turned into a movie starring Jennifer Lopez, a musical, and a Netflix limited series.
This new docuseries claims to have new bombshell information about the murder case, most of which has allegedly not been known to the public up until now. Saldívar will share new details about her relationship with Selena, documents and recordings related to the case, and interviews with law enforcement officials who were there at the scene, including the hostage negotiator, as well as the case prosecutors and journalists. However, many members of the community feel strongly that this series is disrespectful to Selena’s memory and exploits the tragedy of her death. Some don’t think that Saldívar should be gaining this national platform in the first place given the horror of the crime she committed. These responses raise important questions about the ethics of true crime documentaries, especially when they center the perspective of the murderers involved and exploit the suffering of the victims and their families. Regardless of what Saldivar has to say, there is no denying she shot Selena in the back and killed her and fans are not looking past that.
Selena & Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them will premiere in two parts on February 17 and 18 on Oxygen and Peacock.