One year ago today, Long Beach-bred banda superstar Jenni Rivera’s plane crashed into the side of a mountain in Mexico, killing everyone on board.
Although gringos only knew of her existence and importance after her death (the woman sold millions of records and was the first female Latin artist to tell out the Staples Center), the legacy of la Diva de la Banda lives on through her fans, her family and her seemingly endless line of products, posthumous endorsements and just-released albums.
On today’s somber anniversary—the first is always the saddest, no?—her mini-empire and endless significance will be taking over television, radio, museums and retail stores, giving people infinite ways to celebrate the life of a woman who once repped “La Playa Larga” so proudly, she said it was embedded in her ovarios.
Since the folks at All Souls Cemetery aren’t too keen on crowd control and will likely turn you away anyway, we suggest you don’t visit her Long Beach grave and instead try one of these other five ways to honor and remember the Mariposa del Barrio who forever changed the corrido game.
5. Visit the GRAMMY Museum’s La Gran Senora exhibit
If you haven’t yet been to the GRAMMY Museum’s exhibit dedicated to Rivera and her lifetime of accomplishments, there’s no better time than today. Though it opened last May and will be up until May 2014, the museum’s first large-scale exhibit dedicated to a Latin artist is fitting for the Diva de la Banda, whose performance dresses, numerous awards and personal effects from throughout the years are all on display. Included in the ephemera is Rivera’s Long Beach State baseball hat as well as fan letters, her wedding ring and all her certified records.
For more information on the exhibit including hours and pricing, visit grammymuseum.org
4. Watch the I Love Jenni Marathon on mun2
Beginning at 6AM Monday morning, mun2 will be taken over with 30 hours of Jenni Rivera programming including a marathon of her hit reality show, I Love Jenni, and a special “Best of” episode that will feature never-before-seen footage of her family and personal life. The TV show, which ran for three seasons, was the first breakout reality show for a Hispanic celebrity (think of it as The Osbournes but spicier) and also helped define the Riveras’ crossover potential. If you don’t have TV or can’t make it to the sofa today, you can always watch full episodes of I Love Jennithrough the mun2 website.
3. Dig Through Telemundo’s Online Tribute Page
If mun2 is the MTV for second-generation Mexican-Americans, then Telemundo is its VH1 big brother. So while Rivera-themed reality shows are airing all day on one, the other has been running in-depth Jenni programming all weekend, including newsworthy analyses of her final moments, interviews with some of her closest friends, segments on the many controversies she faced during her life and the complete video of her sold-out 2010 concert at Nokia Live, where she talks about her life and fans between songs. All of this content and more is available on Telemundo’s website, conveniently grouped onto a tribute page for on-demand viewing.
Visit Telemundo’s Jenni Rivera tribute page at telemundo.com/jennirivera
2. Curl Up With a Copy of Unbreakable
Before she died, Rivera was working on her autobiography, a pile of handwritten journal entries describing some of the harshest and most painful moments of the diva’s life. As soon as she was buried, the Rivera family quickly moved to compile all her notes into the book as she would have wanted it (“My Story, My Way,” says the cover) and the result is Unbreakable/Inquebrantable, which was released July 2. The tale starts on Long Beach’s Westside and for the first hundred pages or so, details the singer’s sometimes-harsh upbringing in La Playa Larga. It’s an easy read in English or in Spanish and if you’re really feeling saucy, you can pour yourself a shot of her licensed La Gran Senora tequila for the adventure, released in September in blanco, reposado and anejo.
1. Buy Part One of Her Final Performance on CD and DVD
Rivera’s plane went down shortly after leaving the site of a concert in Monterrey, where she performed for four hours for a sold-out crowd. For the first time since her death, the entire footage of that concert is beginning to be released on CD and DVD, with the first round on shelves December 3. 1969-Always Live From Monterrey Part 1 is only one fraction of her final performance—and as such, the DVD only includes five songs—but if the sliver of entertainment provided in this initial installment is any indication, the Gran Senora’s final hours were spent doing what she loves: singing, drinking and diva-ing her heart out for thousands of Mexican fans.
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