Jenni Rivera, 43, singing star dies in Mexico plane crash *



Updates below.

jenni-rivera-mun2.jpgJenni Rivera, who was born in Long Beach, is a popular performer and songwriter in the Mexican norteña and banda styles and a rising television star on both sides of the border. The Learjet she was aboard took off about 3:30 this morning after a concert in the Mexican city. The pilot reportedly lost contact with air traffic control about 10 minutes after takeoff and never reached its destination in Toluca. Transportation and communication minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza told Mexican television today that the plane was found in the state of Nuevo Leon without survivors. "There is nothing recognizable, neither material nor human, in the wreckage," Ruiz Esparza told the Televisa network, per Associated Press.

Rivera recently signed with ABC for a comedy to be developed around her. More from AP:

The so-called "Diva de la Banda" was beloved by fans on both sides of the border for such songs as "De Contrabando" and "La Gran Senora."

She recently won two Billboard Mexican Music Awards: Female Artist of the Year and Banda Album of the Year for "Joyas prestadas: Banda."

The singer, businesswoman and actress appeared in the indie film Filly Brown, as the incarcerated mother of Filly Brown, and has her own reality shows including "I Love Jenni" and "Jenni Rivera Presents: Chiquis and Raq-C" and her daughter's "Chiquis 'n Control."

From The Wrap:

Rivera, renowned as an exponent of the Nortena and banda musical styles, has sold some 15 million records and earned Grammy nominations. The Diva of the Banda recently won two Billboard Mexican Music Awards: Female Artist of the Year and Banda Album of the Year for "Joyas prestadas: Banda." Her most well-known songs include "La Gran Senora" and "De Contrabando."

Los Angeles Times:

She was one of NBCUniversal's biggest bilingual television stars, with a hugely popular reality show, "I Love Jenni," on cable channel Mun2.

She also had a syndicated weekly radio program and clothing and cosmetics lines -- all designed to appeal to U.S. Latinas. The ABC television network was developing a sitcom starring Rivera, tentatively titled "Jenni," about a strong-willed Latina single mother.

According to Nielsen SoundScan, Rivera has sold 1.2 million albums and 349,000 digital tracks in the United States.

Rivera belonged to one of the most important dynasties in contemporary U.S.-based Mexican music. Her father, Pedro Rivera, launched the independent label Cintas Acuario in 1987; it grew out of a booth at an area swap meet. Her four brothers were also involved in music, and her younger brother Lupillo also is a wildly popular Mexican regional singer.

Rivera was recently divorced from the former Dodgers pitcher Esteban Loaiza. (She sang the national anthem at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 26 this season.) She leaves five children and two grandchildren, according to media reports. Also on the plane were her publicist, lawyer, makeup artist and the flight crew, says AP. Rivera's website says that Jenni Rivera Enterprises is based in Encino.

She talks on this Billboard.com video this year about being signed by agency CAA.

Earlier this year, KPCC reporter Adolfo Guzman-Lopez wrote at his KCET blog about why he appreciates Rivera.

Look at the audience. The women. The lyrics speak to them. I ❤ Jenni because of what she does for her fans. Jenni Rivera's singing chops are far from a Lucha Villa or even Paquita la del Barrio. What Rivera represents for many of her fans and the experience she embodies could be just as important as the singing.

Rivera is from Long Beach. Her parents immigrated poor from Mexico. Her brother, Lupillo Rivera, is a famed banda and narco corrido singer. Both together have sold tens of millions of records in Spanish. She sings in the norteño style of northern Mexico and the ranchera style of central Mexico, combined with the swagger of a Mexican American immigrant raised with gangsta rap.

He embedded this video of Rivera entertaining fans who spotted her at King Taco in East Los Angeles a few years ago.



Gustavo Arellano profiled Rivera in OC Weekly in 2003 and said that Rivera had "changed Mexican culture forever."

Already well known is the epic of her family—of patriarch Pedro, a bartender by trade who parlayed a Paramount Swap Meet post into a tiny Long Beach recording studio that became the most influential Mexican music label of the past 10 years, if not ever. Of younger brother Lupillo, exemplar of a movement that updated the hardscrabble Mexican corrido song form to address the real-life violence Mexican immigrants face in their American experience. Of the Riveras as a whole, ridiculed by Mexicans but adored by Mexican-Americans as a sort of barrio Osbournes. The Rivera saga is a story oft-told in Spanish and American publications, presented as a sort of rags-to-riches story. There's even a bilingual biopic on the clan in development. But often forgotten in the retelling is 33-year-old Jenni. This is expected, though—she's a woman living in a Mexican world.

Yet Rivera has trumped Mexico's endemic sexism to emerge as the most important member of the Rivera family, one who not only recorded groundbreaking music but also smashed the female stereotypes that have always blemished Mexican music. One of the few females who sing narcocorridos—a genre in which bards sully their guitar laments with a worldview that treats women as little more than breasts to adorn record covers—Rivera introduced through song the radical notion that women could be depicted as flesh-and-blood creatures. And for this, a gender is forever grateful.

"I'm blessed to be able to say that, when I'm onstage," she remarks with genuine bewilderment, "people stare and listen."

Finally this: some Mexican media and Twitter users are sending around a photo of Rivera's damaged California driver's license from the wreckage.


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