Abraham Quintanilla, Selena Quintanilla’s dad, is once again in the spotlight as his famous daughter is feted in a new Netflix show.
Selena: The Series, which bowed on Netflix last week, is the second time the father of the woman called the Queen of Tejano music has been portrayed in a major Hollywood project.
The first was a motion picture that hit the big screen in 1997. Abe was executive producer of the biographical film, with Edward James Olmos playing him while Jennifer Lopez had been cast as Selena.
This time around on Selena: The Series, Ricardo Chavira snagged the role as Selena’s dad while Madison Taylor Baez played Selena as a young girl and Christian Serratos depicted her when she was a teen.
The 1997 movie version of Abraham Quintanilla gave another viewpoint about the oxymoronic family man who is sweet and sensitive yet austere and even controlling as a parent.
The contrast with the 2020 Netflix version is palpable: Abe comes off as an “exacting father,” according to the source.
In other words, Selena’s dad was a person who was seen as domineering. He had turned into the quintessential stage father.
Who was the real Abraham Quintanilla?
Most likely Abraham Quintanilla, who was born February 20, 1939, had been affected by his Jehovah’s Witness mother Maria. She was not at all in favor of her son’s single aspiration to become a professional singer.
Abe’s childhood in Texas definitely came into play with regard to this aspect of his life.
This was especially so beginning when he and two buddies formed a group called the Gumdrops. After that, Abe the rebel dropped out of high school during his senior year to push forward with his chosen career. Then, in the late 1950s, he became one of the original members of Los Dinos.
After joining the group, he was drafted into the army. Then, after being discharged, he rejoined the group.
Later, as Abe and his wife were raising their four children, their youngest, Selena, showed she had a natural gift for singing.
At that point, he formed a new group called Selena y Los Dinos which included Selena as a vocalist, her sister Suzette on drums, and her brother A.B on bass.
As a way for the kids to showcase their talents, Abe opened Papagayos, a Mexican restaurant, in 1982.
A year later the recession hit and he had to shutter his eaterie. Even worse, the family was evicted from their home.
To keep from starving, Abe joined Selena y Los Dinos. They performed everywhere, up to, and including, the local street corners in Corpus Christi.
The Netflix show Selena: The Series shows how Abe was affected by the 1980s recession.
“Though they are not the only folks suffering, Abe takes it personally and sees accepting help as a mark of shame. Because of this, he not only considers letting his family live in a relative’s shack over splitting a guest room, but he balks at government-subsidized help in the form of food stamps,” states Decider.
The source uses the example of when “he builds up the courage to confront his shame by buying the groceries” with those food stamps.
He never does, having his children take on that task instead.
Selena’s father enjoys his daughter’s success
Having Selena star in their pop band was the start of their uphill climb to stardom. Abe eventually left the group as a performer to become their manager.
In 1984, the group signed with Freddie Records and released their début album, Selena Y Los Dinos. Their second album, New Girl in Town, was released by Cara Records.
Soon, Selena went solo. Ultimately, her last studio album called Dreaming of You became “the first predominantly Spanish-language album [to] top the U.S. Billboard 200 chart…. [The album] remains among the bestselling Latin albums of all time,” states Harper’s Bazaar.
After Selena’s death
Sadly, on March 31, 1995, Selena was murdered by Yolanda Saldivar, president of the Selena Fan Club and her personal friend.
After the celebrated singer died, Abe took over the development of all her albums and documentaries. In fact, he reigned over any productions that involve his youngest child in any way, shape, or form.
Abraham and his family also began The Selena Foundation. The charitable organization accepts funding to help children in crisis.
As for Abe and his music?
The 80-year-old entrepreneur continues to produce new musical acts, other performers, and a number of products with his company called Q Productions.
Selena: The Series is available on Netflix.
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