Latinx Files: Are we ready for a ‘computerized’ Selena album?

Gif of photo of Selena glitching like a hologram
Putting the “techno” in “Techno cumbia.”
(Martina Ibáñez-Baldor / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images )

Nearly 27 years after her death, a new Selena album is in the works.

In an interview with “Latin Groove News,” Abraham Quintanilla, the father of the deceased Tejana icon and a person known in fandom circles for his penchant for sending cease-and-desist letters, announced his family was collaborating with Warner Music to put out a 13-track record.

For the record:

12:44 p.m. March 17, 2022An earlier version of this post stated that Carlos Ballesteros works for the Chicago Tribune. He works for Injustice Watch.

It’s truly a family affair. Son A.J. is producing and daughter Suzette is working on the album art.

According to Quintanilla, some of the tracks will have the vocals of a young Selena digitally altered to sound older.

“What’s unique about it is that not only is the music completely new arrangements, but my son worked on Selena’s voice with the computers and if you listen to her, she sounds on this recording like she did right before she passed away,” he told host Jose Rosario.


I have to admit that despite the unprecedented times we’ve been living through, I didn’t have “Selena robot album” on my 2022 bingo card.

No one can truly know what Selena would have wanted — that’s the trouble with stars who die before their time, all the “what ifs?” — but I can’t imagine it would be this.

It’s also hard to ignore the timing of the announcement.

The San Antonio Express-News reported in September that the Quintanilla family and Chris Perez, Selena’s widower, had settled their legal dispute over control of the artist’s estate. (To learn more about the legal battle, I recommend this 2020 Billboard story by Jesse Katz.)

I don’t know the Quintanillas personally nor do I know what’s in their heart or what they’ve been through, but the ethical implications of it all make me deeply uncomfortable as a lifetime fan of Selena’s music.

It feels like we’re two steps away from a near future in which a hologram Selena is closing out a Besame Mucho music festival featuring a star-studded lineup of dead musicians like Ritchie Valens, Celia Cruz and Chalino Sánchez.

We’re closer to that reality than we think.

Of course, I say all this knowing fully well that my morbid curiosity will get the better of me and I’ll end up listening to the album. And if I’m being fully real with y’all, I would also spend money to attend the hypothetical festival.

I suppose this makes me complicit, and it also forces me to rethink the movie line “anything for Selenas” as a question instead of an exclamation.


When it comes to our fandom, where do we draw the line?

gif of two tacos fighting with boxing gloves
Dueling tacos
(Martina Ibáñez-Baldor / Los Angeles Times; Photos by Christina House / Los Angeles Times, Getty Images )

A moratorium on the tired breakfast taco debate

Speaking at a South by Southwest panel on Sunday, Austin Mayor Steve Adler perpetuated one of the biggest lies in the history of modern Texas. He claimed that his city had the best breakfast tacos in the world.

I have a quick message for the mayor:

Sir, can you not?

The breakfast taco discourse is old and tired. It was exhausting in 2010 when the New York Times made the same proclamation, and again in 2016 when Eater ran a similar story. As you’re well aware, the latter resulted in a so-called “taco war” with San Antonio, which was quickly resolved.

Or so we thought, because here you are in the year of our Lord 2022 audaciously writing a check your city can’t cash.

Please stop. No one believes this, especially when San Antonio, Houston, El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley (puro 956!) exist.

I’m sure there are more pressing needs to address, like how rising housing costs have forced residents of historically Latinx neighborhoods to move out.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of your city. In fact, some readers and Twitter followers will claim I’m obsessed (I’d argue it’s more of an appreciation of a place I called home for nearly a decade, but we’re splitting hairs here).

Your city has plenty to offer. Why not lean on that instead?

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Things we read this week that we think you should read

In his latest column, Gustavo Arellano profiled Samanta Helou Hernandez, Jimmy Recinos and Ali Rachel Pearl. The trio are behind “Making a Neighborhood,” a new Substack newsletter that will report on East Hollywood and its residents. It’s a cool project that focuses on a rapidly changing L.A. neighborhood.

“This is local work, but it’s local work that speaks to a national situation,” Pearl said.

— It’s almost time for Dodger baseball and what better way to get excited for it than by reading Dylan Hernández’s story on ace pitcher Julio Urías?

Q.E.P.D.: Emilio Delgado, the Mexican American author who spent more than 4 decades playing handyman Luis on Sesame Street, died last Thursday of myeloma, a type of cancer. He was 81.

For many Latinx viewers, watching Delgado on the pivotal children’s show was the first time they saw themselves reflected on television.

— I cannot get over the absurdity of the details found in this report by CNN’s Nicole Chavez about a woman charged with faking her abduction. The opening paragraph alone made me laugh so hard:


When Sherri Papini claimed she was abducted in Northern California, investigators were led to believe they were looking for two Hispanic women who spoke Spanish, played Mariachi music and fed her mostly tortillas and rice.

It gets worse/better. Check out the sketches of the alleged abductors.

— Laura Rodríguez Presa of the Chicago Tribune and Carlos Ballesteros of Injustice Watch are working on a series of stories that reveal the precarious and uncertain future thousands of older undocumented workers in the region will soon face. The first one is out now, and we’ll be including the rest in future editions of the newsletter as they’re published.

— Are you a Latinx voter in Los Angeles? My colleague Alejandra Reyes-Velarde is helping with coverage of the mayoral race and wants to know what issues are important to you.

— It’s been six months since President Nayib Bukele turned El Salvador into a Bitcoin country. How’s the project going? Not so well, it turns out.

— When Column One editor Steve Padilla flagged this story by Luca Evans about a team of underdogs overcoming great obstacles, he compared it to sports movies like “Hoosiers” and “Rudy.” I clicked on it immediately, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

The best thing on the Latinternet: I have never felt more seen and personally attacked than I have after coming across this TikTok by user @OCNatives. It perfectly captures the struggles of being the unofficial translator of immigrant parents.

But wait, there’s more! He also made a follow-up video that shows how kids these days could never.