Jenni Rivera, 43, Mexican-American ‘Diva of Banda’

Hundreds of people took part in a tribute to Jenni Rivera at the Arena Monterrey, in Monterrey, Mexico, on Monday.
Hundreds of people took part in a tribute to Jenni Rivera at the Arena Monterrey, in Monterrey, Mexico, on Monday.

NEW YORK — Jenni Rivera, the Mexican-American singer and reality television star known as the Diva of Banda, died early Sunday in a plane crash outside Monterrey, Mexico, after a performance there. She was 43.

Ms. Rivera was one of the biggest stars of banda, a brassy, percussive form of Spanish-language pop music invented in northern Mexico and perfected in the American Southwest.

She sold more than 15 million records, was nominated three times for a Latin Grammy Award, and developed a reputation for hard-hitting lyrics that addressed relationships between the sexes with a frankness similar to that of American country music: One of her albums, released in 2007, was titled ‘‘My Crazy Life.’’


Banda is popular primarily among Mexican-Americans, Mexicans, and Central Americans.

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But in ­recent years Ms. Rivera’s popularity expanded to other Hispanic groups in the United States, thanks to three reality television shows broadcast on the Mun2 channel that starred Ms. Rivera or her five children.

In the best known of the shows, ‘‘I Love Jenni,’’ Ms. Rivera cultivated a tough-talking persona, prone to making hilarious, outrageous statements and unafraid of offending family or friends. ‘‘Have a great day; don’t get pregnant,’’ she would warn a daughter.

Promotional material for the show, which started in 2011 and began production of its third season last month, described her as ‘‘the mama with lots of drama.’’

‘‘It doesn’t bother me at all that some people think I am too outspoken,’’ Ms. Rivera said in 2011. ‘‘Actually, if they are thinking about me, it bothers them. But, oh, well, they’ll get over it.’’


Ms. Rivera’s tough-mother approach stemmed from her own experience. By the time she was 16 she was married and had given birth to her first daughter, Janney, known as Chiquis and featured in two reality shows on Mun2, a cable channel owned by NBC Universal.

She was married three times, most recently to the former major-league pitcher Esteban Loaiza, but the couple divorced this fall.

When her plane crashed, Ms. Rivera was on her way to the Mexico City area, where she was scheduled to tape an episode of the Mexican version of the TV singing competition ‘‘The Voice,’’ on which she was a judge.

She was also developing an English-language family comedy for ABC with the producers of the hit ‘‘Designing Women.’’