Fans pay tribute to Jenni Rivera and Selena days after vandalism on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Alexis Magallanes places an orange carnation on the star of Jenni Rivera along the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. Two days prior, the star had been defaced. JACOB AMARO/LATINO REPORTER

Hollywood’s Walk of Fame was bustling with tourists Wednesday afternoon when Alexis Magallanes stopped to lay an orange carnation on Jenni Rivera’s star.

As the marble placard shone in the midday sun, it was impossible to tell that only hours before, the same star, and Selena Quintanilla’s nearby, had been vandalized — not once, but twice.

In each case, adoring fans showed up to remove black paint that had been smeared across the plaques. Some even got on their hands and knees to scrub.

“Thanks to the fans who tried to clean the star up and reported (the incident),” the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the organization that administers and maintains the iconic landmark, said in an Instagram post. “Note, there are cameras everywhere and a police report has been filed!”

The Los Angeles Police Department said investigations into who defaced the stars and why were ongoing Wednesday. A spokesperson for the department declined to offer more details when contacted by the Latino Reporter.

Rivera had received her star only two weeks before it was defaced. On Wednesday afternoon, fans wondered aloud why anyone would do such a thing.

Rivera and Quintanilla are widely celebrated in the United States for their contributions to Latin music and the advancement of Latinos in pop culture.

Rivera wrenched fans’ hearts with rancheras such as “No Llega el Olvido,” and Quintanilla has become legendary for her sweet, melismatic voice and lively dance moves. Both died tragically — Rivera in a plane crash in 2012 and Quintanilla in 1995, after being shot by Yolanda Saldívar, the president of her fan club.

Samantha Maldonado poses for a photo with Jenni Rivera’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. Two days prior, the star was defaced. JACOB AMARO/LATINO REPORTER

Nathian Rodriguez, associate director of the School of Journalism and Media Studies at San Diego State University, who has taught classes on Quintanilla, said, absent further evidence, it will be difficult to determine the reason behind such vandalism.

“It could be that people wanted attention, and those two stars were going to get the most attention,” he said.

Bety Aldana, who grew up listening to Rivera’s music, said the Mexican icon had a lot of haters, and that whoever was behind the attack didn’t have “anything else to do with their lives.”

But Magallanes, like many fans who learned of the defacement this week, had assumed it was an act of hatred toward Mexican-Americans.

The news did little this week to slow the steady stream of admirers who flocked to Vine Street to pay their respects, take photos and run their fingertips gently along the gold borders of the stars.

Magallanes, who had attended the unveiling of Rivera’s star two weeks ago, said he felt compelled to return when he learned about the incident. He brought a flower adorned with a butterfly, reminiscent of the kaleidoscope of butterflies unleashed at the celebration. Rivera was known for her autobiographical song called “Mariposa de Barrio.”

As he walked away, his orange carnation remained, laid gently in the center of the star, surrounded by red rose petals and a flowing crowd of fans.

Jacob Anthony Amaro is a reporter at for Mosaic, where he writes stories about and for New Jersey’s diverse communities. He earned his bachelor’s in journalism from Rutgers-Newark and will continue his studies at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in the fall. His goal, no matter what the future holds, is to write stories that inform and empower his readers. He may be reached via email at jamaro2001 [at] gmail [dot] com and on LinkedIn.

Elizabeth Jazlyn Dieguez is a recent journalism graduate from San Diego State University. She is a California Student Journalism Corps reporter at EdSource and aspires to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Reach her at elizabethjdieguez5 [at] gmail [dot] com or on X at @Elizabeth Dieguez.

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