Dolores Janney “Jenni” Rivera Saavedra (July 2, 1969 – December 9, 2012) was an American singer, songwriter, actress, television producer, spokesperson, philanthropist and entrepreneur known for her work within the Regional Mexican music genre, specifically in the styles of Banda, Mariachi and Norteño. In life and death, several media outlets including CNN, Billboard, Fox News, and The New York Times have labeled her as the most important female figure and top selling female artist in Regional Mexican music. Billboard magazine named her the “top Latin artist of 2013”, and the “best selling Latin artist of 2013”.
Rivera began recording music in 1992. Her recordings often had themes of social issues, infidelity, and relationships. Rivera released her first studio album, Si Quieres Verme Llorar, in the late 1990s, failing to attain commercial success; however, she rose to prominence in the United States and Mexico with her major-label debut, Parrandera, Rebelde y Atrevida. In the early 2000s, she was often criticized and was refused bookings at venues across California for performing Banda music—a male-dominated music genre. However, her popularity grew after she won the Lo Nuestro Award for Regional Mexican Female Artist of the Year in 2007, which she won nine consecutive times. Her tenth studio album, Jenni (2008) became her first No.1 record on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart in the United States. In 2010, she appeared in and produced the reality TV show Jenni Rivera Presents: Chiquis & Raq-C. She also appeared in and produced I Love Jenni starting in 2011 through 2013 and Chiquis ‘n Control in 2012. Her acting debut was in the film Filly Brown, which was released in 2013.
Over the course of her career, Rivera was awarded two Oye! Awards (Mexico’s equivalent to the United States’ Grammy Awards), two Billboard Music Awards, twenty-two Billboard Latin Music Awards, eleven Billboard Mexican Music Awards and eighteen Lo Nuestro Awards. She received four Latin Grammy nominations. She has a star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars, and she is one of the best-selling regional Mexican artists of all time, having sold more than 20 million records worldwide, also making her the highest-earning banda singer of all time.
Aside from music, she was active in her community and donated her time to civic causes. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence appointed her its spokesperson in the United States. A proclamation was given officially naming August 6 “Jenni Rivera Day” by the Los Angeles City Council for all her charity work and community involvement.
Rivera, along with six others, died in a plane crash near Monterrey, on December 9, 2012. An investigation was unable to determine the causes of the accident. Lawsuits involving the owners of the plane, Rivera’s estate, and family members of those on board with Rivera were filed.