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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – There is a growing debate in North Texas about the person selected by a Dallas concert venue to pay tribute to Selena. The late Tejano singer still has a large following, especially in the Hispanic community, and a show honoring Selena at The Rustic on Thursday night was sold out.
An estimated 2,000 people came to hear Selena’s songs at the show, but some are questioning how and why The Rustic picked singer Suzanna Choffel to perform. The musician from Austin has been receiving plenty of criticism and heat online for her covers of Selena’s songs — because of her ethnicity.
When it was announced that Choffel would be participating in the Selena tribute, she identified as white. Now, she has said that she is actually 1/16 Mexican. “The reason that I didn’t come right out and say something about it,” Choffel said, “I don’t identify… obviously, I look very white. I look like a white girl. And I didn’t want people thinking that I grew up with the same identity as them.”
As Selena fan Eva Arreguin explained, “Since that was a big part of what Selena’s legacy was, was representing the Latino community that wasn’t often represented, it felt a little bit off to have someone that was not [Latino].”
Another fan added, “If you’re going to have a blonde Caucasian woman try to do her justice, I think that’s pretty sad.”
Some of the anger is also being directed at The Rustic, which said that it hired a well-known (and Hispanic) Selena tribute band for a show at its San Antonio location on the same night. Choffel has previously performed her music at The Rustic in Dallas, and that was also part of the reason that she was hired.
Choffel has gotten support from some members of the Hispanic community.
“Selena’s music is so amazing, powerful, that it broke through so many borders and walls,” Choffel said. She invited anyone who is upset to come and see her perform. Perhaps she can change their minds.