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SDSU class explores Selena's impact on the conversation around Mexican-American identity

Selena Quintanilla
A portrait of the late singer Selena Quintanilla is seen in the crowd following a posthumous star ceremony for Quintanilla on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in Los Angeles.

Selena Quintanilla-Perez, the late pop star known as “The Queen of Tejano,” died 27 years ago Thursday.

At the height of her career, she was a superstar caught between two cultures. She was just crossing over successfully to the English-speaking music world when she died.

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Nathian Shae Rodriguez, a journalism and media studies professor at SDSU, teaches a class inspired by the late pop star and her legacy. The course is called "Selena & Latinx Media Representation."

"She's a pocha just like I am," Rodriguez said. "Pocha, traditionally, is a pejorative that Spanish speakers would call non-native Spanish speakers because they didn't speak Spanish correctly, and since then it's kind of been used as a term of empowerment and a reclaimed term to basically describe somebody who is comfortable with their identity and their in between English and Spanish — doesn't really speak the best of both but is who they are exactly."

Rodriguez joined KPBS Midday Edition to talk about Selena's legacy and her impact on the conversation on Mexican-American identity.