The news that Mexican-American pop sensation Jenni Rivera died in a plane crash last weekend was matched, in many corners of America, with the news that she existed. To some degree, Rivera’s odd mix of fame and obscurity is a sign of enduring divisions in our nation. It’s also a reflection of the music industry, once more of a unifying force in American culture, which has increasingly operated by exploiting niches. But Rivera, whose appeal stemmed from her big voice and her relatably-messy life, had so much talent and personality that the broader entertaiment world was getting wind of her potential.
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