LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Years after her tragic death in a plane crash, Long Beach native and singer Jenni Rivera is still close to the heart of many locals.
She was a straight "A" student at Polytechnic high school, persevering through challenges like getting pregnant with her first child.
Rivera continued her education, earning a degree from Cal State University, Long Beach.
"She was first known as 'la diva de la banda;' the diva of banda music, which is a big ensemble. Lots of brass, trumpets, tubas, so forth. Very fun music, very, loud, very lively," said Antonia Garcia-Orozco, CSULB associate professor in Chicano and Latino studies.
In a male dominated industry, Rivera was bold and broke barriers. She sang banda music, but was also a business woman, philanthropist and role model.
"She's just like dude I'm here, you're going to know my voice, you're going to hear it and recognize that you should respect me and as a woman, that's all we want at the end of the day," said Rebecca Guzman, radio host for the Shoboy show.
"She gave a lot of women agency about their lives, not putting up with abuse, or violence, or you know toxic relationships," Garcia-Orozco said.
Professor Garcia-Orozco taught a course about Rivera's family's music at Cal State Long Beach. She says her students really resonate with the music and their parent's connection to it, as well.
"I also got some nice emails from a couple of moms who said gracias, because you brought be closer to my daughter. And I thought, that wasn't me, that was Jenni," she said.
'La diva de la bandas' music still has the ability to inspire people from all over the world and radio stations play her music daily - a true testimony that Rivera's legacy lives.
"In Spanish you say, 'No somos de aqui ni de alla' which is like, 'We're not from here or there. We're kind of just from it all,' and I feel like she really embodied that really well," Guzman said.
Rivera is resting in peace at All Soul's Cemetery in Long Beach, the city she loved so much. And the city has shown that same love back dedicating a park in Rivera's honor.
"Never forgetting where she came from. Always taking so much pride in being from Long Beach and telling people, this is where I'm from," Garcia-Orozco said.
Rivera's legacy has continued to carry on and inspire people all over the world.
"Thanks to women like her, I have a stronger voice," said Guzman.
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Jenni Rivera, legendary banda singer, remembered by her native Long Beach years after tragic death
During Hispanic Heritage month, Long Beach locals are remembering late singer Jenni Rivera's legacy.
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