Executives and celebrities gathered at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles to pay their respects to Jenni Rivera, the banda diva who died in a plane crash December 9. Artists in attendance at the crowded memorial included singers Gloria Trevi, Olga Tañón, Ana Gabriel, Marco Antonio Solís and Joan Sebastian. All had personal or professional ties to Rivera.
Trevi, for example, was a pop singer through and through, but her forthright personality and onstage personal were very akin to Rivera's and the two collaborated on-stage several times.
Solis was the author of one of Rivera's current hits, "Basta Ya," which he recorded with her in pop and banda for the "Joyas Prestadas" albums. As it turns out, another Rivera friend, Tañón, had recorded the same song years ago. But Tañón and Rivera, both big-voiced singers-had also collaborated, recording "Cosas del Amor" in 2007 and then re-recording it for a live album by Tañón.
Last year, Rivera had done film for the first time alongside Edward James Olmos in the indie movie "Filly Brown." Olmos was there with his son, actor Mico Olmos who is also a film producer, and with another "Filly Brown" actor, Lou Diamond Phillips.
Likewise, DJs Lisa "Khool Aid" Rios and Edward "E-Dub" Rios, the music producers for Filly Brown, were also there. The film debuted at this summer's Sundance Film Festival and is slated for wide release in April.
The eclectic list of attendees highlighted how very versatile Rivera had become, with executives from her different businesses present.
TV personality Raul de Molina and of course, Rivera's own celebrated family, including brothers Lupillo and Juan Rivera, daughter and TV personality Chiquis and father Pedro Rivera, a music industry veteran who launched his children's career years ago in Los Angeles.
Others in attendance included Victor González, president of UMLE, Rivera's longtime label; mun2 VP of programming Flavio Morales -- who had worked closely with Rivera on her reality show "I Love Jenni" -- and mun2 general manager Diana Mogollón, who often said the show was the most successful piece of original programming on mun2.
Jeffrey Liberman, COO of Entravision, home to Rivera's radio show "Contacto Directo," was also in the audience, as was Pepe Garza, the PD of KBUE in Los Angeles, the first radio station to play Rivera's music.
"I don't remember a regional Mexican singer like Jenni Rivera because that person does not exist," said Garza. "Jenni was a friend, mother and daughter and known by many. Her fans put her on a pedestal because they knew that wherever she went she was their voice. With so many memories, Jenni Rivera has not left us. She lives inside so many women. She is the pride of the Latino."
It was also ironic that Rivera, who had become a fixture in Latin television gossip shows, nevertheless developed a relationship with their hosts and anchors. Among those in the first rows were Raul De Molina, host of Univision's El Gordo y la Flaca, and Jessica Maldonado, the show's entertainment reporter and one of Rivera's close friends.
"I used to joke around and call her a brown superhero," said Pete Salgado, Jenni Rivera's manager, during the memorial service. "That's why we gelled. Jenni made it okay for women to be who they are. She came from nothing with the hopes of being something. Today we come to celebrate her life, her family and children."