Inside the effort to add ‘Selena’ to the National Film Registry

Jennifer Lopez as Selena Quintanilla Perez in the film "Selena."
Jennifer Lopez as Selena Quintanilla Perez in the film "Selena." (CBS Studios Inc.)

Lawmakers are hoping to boost Latino representation in the U.S. media by adding “Selena” to the National Film Registry, NBC News reported.

The 1997 blockbuster movie starring Jennifer Lopez directed by Mexican-American filmmaker Gregory Nava has been nominated to be included in the registry by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, chaired by Texas U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro.

In a letter sent by Rep. Castro to the National Film Preservation Board and the Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden on Friday, he cited Selena as “an American icon that is celebrated with the Latino community.” He told NBC News that he attributes the recent success of the new Netflix series “Selena: The Series” and the 1997 film about the life and death of the “Queen of Tejano.”

“Latinos have been left out of the representation of American culture by and large,” Castro wrote. “And this is one effort to make sure that Latinos are represented in the telling of American culture and the retelling of American culture, and part of that includes American films.”

The film touched important cultural identity themes that depicted Mexican-American communities living between bilingualism and navigating personal connections between the two cultures, according to Castro’s letter.

He felt there was a “renewed sense of urgency” to bring Latino representation in question after the El Paso shooting in 2019 that killed 23 people, NBC News reported.

Castro told NBC News he will continue to push for more Latino representation in media and film to the U.S as congressman after his term as chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus ends this weekend, hoping to tackle the invisibility of the community he represents.


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