Selena Quintanilla’s Sister Says The Dress Scene From The Movie Sadly Wasn’t Just A Story
A classic scene in the 1997 film “Selena” is when the Tejano queen is shopping for a dress at a high-end boutique for the Grammy Awards. The scene features a pretty classic “Pretty Woman” moment that so many women of color can relate to. While shopping in a store, Selena is told by a shop employee that she will not be able to afford the dress that she was looking at and wanted to try on. Obviously, the woman was racially profiling the Latina and didn’t recognize her as the famous pop star she was. The shop employee later gets her just deserts when she sees Selena surrounded by fans, all clamoring for an autograph.
Famously, the scene ends with Selena declining to buy the dress and the shop employee realizing that she messed up big time.
As much as we love that scene, we’ve now found out that it didn’t exactly go down the way we thought.
On July 30th, Selena fan Insta page, Selena.daily, posted a clip from a 2012 live stream where Selena’s siblings talked about that infamous dress scene. In the video, Suzette and A.B. Quintanilla explained that the interaction between Selena and a rude shop employee wasn’t just a one-time occurrence. Like many Black and brown people, Selena was racially profiled several times while out shopping with friends and family.
In the live stream, A.B. reads a question from a fan asking if the dress incident was a real thing that happened or if it was made up for the movie.
“It happened with me, too” A.B. exclaims in the video. “They were following us — some security guards. We were in a Macy’s and Selena — she always picked me to go shopping with her, man. So I went with her when (Suzette) wasn’t around and so I’m with her and some security guard is following us… She turns around towards the guy and says, ‘Can I help you!? We’re not going to steal anything!'”
Like so many Black and brown people, she was being racially profiled by security because she didn’t fit the “look” of someone who would be shopping at the store. It’s hard to imagine that someone as famous as Selena would have this happen to her too but, when it comes to racists and racial profiling, the only thing that matters is skin color.
Suzette shared the reason why she thought Selena was probably the victim of profiling more often than once.
Suzette talked about memories of her sister; how she would dress and how she would react when she found herself in these situations.
“I think that Selena’s thing was that Selena always dressed in jeans and a tee-shirt and she always had her hair in a low bun. You know, she would get mad when people would stereotype her.”
The public usually sees celebrities dressed up and looking like they’ve come off the red carpet. Selena wasn’t one of those celebrities. She was an ordinary girl who felt most at home in a pair of jeans. Due to this, it was easy for security guards and shop employees to mistake her for a non-celebrity. However, whether they aren’t famous or they are, the profiling of people of color is very real (it even happened to Oprah recently!) and it remains something that regularly happens decades later.
The current racial profiling by ICE has become especially dangerous and is something that should be outlawed.
Raids done by US Customs and Border Protection and ICE are racially motivated. Agents see groups of Black or brown people and identify these gatherings as possible targets to be detained. Places like buses, bars, restaurant kitchens, and nail salons are being targeted by these officers because they are identified as places that minorities frequent. It’s not a precise investigation as much as it’s a fishing net to capture for undocumented migrants.
The same happened to Francisco Erwin Galicia when he was illegally detained by ICE for three weeks. The teenager was just walking down the street with his brother when he was stopped and jailed by officers of ICE. Despite being a natural-born citizen, Galicia physically fit the stereotype of an undocumented immigrant so he became an easy target.
While that dress scene in “Selena” is one of the most satisfying parts of the movie, it points out a very real problem in our current society. We can’t help but wonder: If Selena was alive and well today, would she be as vulnerable to these illegal raids as so many of us are?