Selena, a Mexican American singer-songwriter who gained worldwide fame as the lead vocalist of her family-oriented band Selena y Los Dinos and for her community involvement, was murdered by Yolanda Saldívar on the morning of March 31, 1995. Saldívar (Selena’s former fan-club president and clothing boutique manager), with whom Selena was severing their relationship, persuaded the singer to meet with her secretly. Saldívar shot Selena in the back, piercing an artery leading from her heart and killing her. Saldívar claimed that in an attempt to end her own life she accidentally shot Selena, but the jury at her trial did not believe her; she was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole in 2025.
The Hispanic community was stunned by the murder, naming the event “Black Friday”. Radio personality Howard Stern mocked Selena’s mourners and funeral, spawning boycotts by her fans. The reaction to Selena’s murder was compared to those following the deaths of John Lennon and Elvis Presley. Her funeral drew 60,000 mourners, while numerous tributes and memorials were held throughout the United States and Spanish-speaking countries. Selena’s story had been documented on biographical shows, series and talk shows worldwide, and her murder boosted her popularity. She became a household name in the United States, more popular in death than in life. Governor George W. Bush designated April 16 “Selena Day” in Texas.