Fans brave the heat to see Jenni Rivera get a posthumous Hollywood Walk of Fame star

The late regional Mexican singer Jenni Rivera became the recipient of the 2,783rd star on the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday, as her five children accepted the accolade on their mother’s behalf.

“It’s such an honor to be the daughter of such an amazing woman, a woman that accomplished so much,” said Janney Marin Rivera, better known as Chiquis, during the ceremony. “But more than anything, being the daughter of a woman who left her footprints on this earth and in so many people’s hearts.”

Chiquis, along with siblings Johnny Lopez, Jacqie Rivera, Jenicka Lopez and Michael Rivera, were joined by Mexican singer Gloria Trevi, who befriended Jenni Rivera before she died in a plane crash in December 2012.

“Today is a very special day. Today we are honoring and celebrating the beautiful life and art of a brilliant distinguished woman,” Trevi said. “Today, love and talent defeat death, because Jenni Rivera, ‘la Diva de la Banda’, ‘la Mariposa de Barrio,’ la hija, la hermana, la mujer, la amiga, la madre, lives through all of us who love her and admire her.”

The star sits in front of Capitol Records at 1750 Vine St., not far from Tejano legend Selena Quintanilla’s star. Roughly 250 fans lined the sidewalk on the corner of Yucca and Vine streets before security allowed them into the event. It wouldn’t take long before that number doubled, with fans taking to the sidewalk to hear the live loud banda bass riffs and emotional statements from friends and family.

“One of my mom’s favorite exes used to work in this vicinity. We would come and check in on him and she always dreamt — I remember sitting in the car, in her Mercedes, and she always dreamt, ‘I’m gonna have my star here one day,’” said an emotional Jenicka Lopez. “I thought it was impossible after she passed away, but God has a beautiful way of proving people wrong.”

Despite the heat and lack of shade, Rivera’s loyal followers endured the scorching sun graciously, honoring the self-proclaimed “Diva de la Banda.” It didn’t matter that sweat was dripping from their foreheads. Many used hand fans to cool themselves while cheers of “Jenni” rose from the crowd.

Rivera may have died more than a decade ago, but her message of empowerment to her fans, especially her female followers, continues to be celebrated. Fans honor the singer known for her brassy, sassy and bold persona who belted out big breathy songs about love, heartache and the challenges that women face, themes still very relevant today, which live on in songs such as “Inolvidable,” “La Gran Señora” and “Ovarios.”

Rivera was a Latina with big influence. Yoseline Castañeda says it’s the reason she traveled all the way from Beloit, Wis., briefly popping into Lodi, Calif. to greet her sister before embarking on a five-hour road trip to make the ceremony.

“I was like, ‘Oh, she’s [being honored], I have to book my flight, I have to be there,’” Castañeda said as she swiveled her head in search of a street vendor selling T-shirts. “I’m excited but sad. I couldn’t see her live because I was still young, but at least I could still be a part of this. It makes me proud.”

Castañeda said there’s not a single family party that takes place without Rivera’s music, She says “No Llega el Olvido,” an emotionally driven ballad about a lover who hasn’t forgotten her love, is her favorite song.

Meliza Ramos and her 13-year-old daughter also came from out of state to be at the ceremony, driving eight hours from Tucson, Ariz. Ramos says that Rivera’s influence runs much deeper than song lyrics, attributing a portion of the singer’s success to her ability to be open and vulnerable with fans.

“I can relate to her. I mean, we grew up here in L.A.,” Ramos said.” I had the same kind of struggles, same family structure. So I think it’s just relatable to see someone who came from the same background and place that I did succeed. Usually when artists come out they don’t tell you much about their background, and when you do expose the good, bad and the ugly of your life, people can relate a bit.”

Superfan Victoria Barakat stood out with her wide-brim sun hat, Jenni Rivera T-shirt and tattoos and a bedazzled framed photo of her idol, which she held above her head for most of the event. Barakat said she has followed Rivera since 1993 and saw her in concert more than 20 times, She was even invited to meet Rivera backstage.

“To be able to represent her is amazing and I love it,” Barakat said. “Even though she’s not here anymore, it’s like she is. I feel her here.”

Barakat recalled she was making her regular commute to an ultrasound tech class when the news of Rivera’s death broke.

“I was on the 10 Freeway when I heard the radio say Jenni Rivera’s plane crashed and my heart fell to the floor,” Barakat said. “Once I knew that she was dead, I couldn’t listen to her music for over six months because every time I did I would cry.”

As the event wrapped up, fans lingered in the closed-off portion of Vine Street before being cleared out by police and event staff. Admirers like Veronica Nakaya left with even more Jenni Rivera memories than she came with.

“I’m a workaholic. This time I was like, ‘No, I’m taking the day off,’” said the mother of four. “Jenni represents me as a Latina woman, as a single mother, as an ordinary woman. Even though she’s up in heaven, look at all the people that [came out to support her].”

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