Jennifer Lopez who famously played Selena Quintanilla in the 1997 film Selena, paid tribute to the late Tejana singer today on what would have been her 50th birthday. In a post to her Instagram Story, Lopez shared an image of Quintanilla, tagging the official Selena account, @selenaqofficial, and adding the singer's song "Fotos y Recuerdos."
In the past, Lopez has reflected on the role, which many call her breakout role, though she previously appeared in films like Jack and Money Train. Some critics called her out for not being the "right kind" of Latina, Biography notes.
"I know a few people were protesting," Lopez told Entertainment Weekly. "But in Corpus [Christi, Texas, Selena's hometown], everyone has been really supportive."
Gregory Nava, who directed the movie, said that "it was a little hurtful. [The protesters] should be celebrating that we have an all-Latino cast and that Jennifer Lopez, one of our own, is becoming a star."
To prep for the role, Lopez got to know Quintanilla's family, even going as far as sleeping in her bed.
"I soaked up everything," Lopez said during an Apple Music interview. "I slept in her bed at home. I talked to the whole family. I spent time with them. It can be melancholy and beautiful at the same time."
Lopez would go on to say that she still considers Quintanilla a "mentor" and reflects fondly on her time with the family.
"It was a great thing for her to be my mentor in a way and teach me so much about how to navigate this business, but [also] how to navigate this life," she told NBC News. "If she was here, she would be doing what I'm doing right now. It's a sad story. It still gets to me. It really did mark my life at that time to get to know the family and work with them. It was an important part of my life. It still is."