New ‘Selena & Yolanda’ documentary creating controversy among Valley fans

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A new documentary about legendary Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla and her murderer Yolanda Saldivar is set to air next week, but it has drawn the ire from many of her fans and those who knew her personally.

“Selena & Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them” is a two-part limited series that revisits Quintanilla’s murder while revealing new details with an interview with Saldivar.

“After so many years, I think it’s time to set the story straight,” Saldivar, now 63, said in a trailer for the documentary.

While the documentary is drawing widespread attention, it is also drawing criticism from many of the late singer’s fans.

“Personally, ​​I don’t feel like I’m going to be watching the show,” Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame & Museum President Patricia Avila said. “I feel like Yolanda Saldivar had her day in court, and the jury and the judge made their decision. Yolanda is put away for a reason, for what she did to Selena.”

Saldivar was president of Quintanilla’s fan club when she shot and killed the 23-year-old singer. She was sentenced to life in prison on Oct. 26, 1995 ​​with the possibility of parole on March 30, 2025.

“It’s a controversy because it’s not giving any respect to the Quintanilla family and her fans and the ones that loved her,” Avila said. “I mean, it’s just opening up a wound.”

James Echavarria, better known as Rock-N-Roll James, is a well-known radio personality who met and interviewed Quintanilla on many occasions in the 1990s on the popular Sunday morning television show, “Puro Tejano.” He said that he has no interest in anything that pertains to Saldivar.

“I consider her a con artist and a murderer,” Echavarria said. “I got to meet her quite a few times as well. She was a hanger-on, and when I met her I just never felt her as a genuine person. Her story or ‘reasons’ for murdering Selena are irrelevant, and frankly I wouldn’t believe a single word that comes out of her mouth.”

He said that the documentary is an opportunity for Saldivar “to cash in” on Selena’s popularity.

“Selena & Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them” premieres with back-to-back episodes on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. and concludes on Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. (Courtesy Photo)

“I understand that filmmakers have an obligation to create content and product, and they know Selena has become one of the biggest cultural icons of our time — not just regionally but globally,” Echavarria said. “I receive messages from fans all over the world when they find out I am the guy on most of her interviews on Youtube. So I understand that point but I also understand that I have the ability to choose whether to support it or not, and I do not.”

“Yolanda is one of the most dishonest and deceitful persons I have ever known and I feel that she will spew a bunch of gibberish and nonsense and lies to try and justify her actions,” he continued.

Arnaldo “Nano” Ramirez is a promoter and the owner of the popular former events center, La Villa Real. He has spent over 50 years bringing some of the biggest names in music to the Rio Grande Valley.

He booked Quintanilla’s first show at La Villa Real on Nov. 2, 1991, and has maintained a close friendship with her family since then.

“Of course, the rest is history,” he said, recalling the nine times that she performed at La Villa Real, including a show on Feb. 3, 1995 — less than two months before her death.

“It’s a shame when you can ruin a person loved by thousands and thousands of people that love Selena just to sell,” Ramirez said. “Just to sell — I think this is what it’s all about. Selling some controversy.”

Ramirez said that he wasn’t too familiar with the new documentary, but despite the controversy he is curious about what Saldivar might say.

“It’s such a shame to, you know, to feel something that’s negative, but at the same time, the curiosity, it gets to you,” Ramirez said. “What the hell is she going to say about Selena?”

Ramirez also recalled meeting Saldivar a few times and described her as arrogant and bossy. “She did not give off good vibes,” he said.

“Of course, I didn’t know about that documentary. It’s sad. I’m sad about it,” he said. “I met (Quintanilla) for all those four or five years, and for somebody to say something to the contrary — it’s disappointing. She was great, but right now she would have been a super superstar.”