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Why isn’t Freddy Fender in the Country Music Hall of Fame?

SAN ANTONIO – The Tejanese artist Veronique Medrano appreciates the people who paved the way for her.

The Rio Grande Valley native took a trip to Texas State University’s Wittliff Collections and admired the dress of legendary country star Freddy Fender (born Baldemar Garza Huerta).

“Look at the condition, you still see the sweat stains,” says Medrano.

Fender was born in San Benito, Texas and worked in the fields when he was 10.

He sang the timeless hits “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” and “Before the Next Tear Drop Falls”. She had great success on the Billboard charts with four number one country songs, two number one country albums and eight top 10 country songs. She went on to produce more classics with the Texas Tornados.

“He was literally the person for everyone and that’s why his music was so impactful,” says Medrano.

During this time, Fender was one of the very few Mexican-American musicians to achieve mainstream success, so Medrano posed an important question: Why isn’t Freddy Fender in the Country Music Hall of Fame?

“You’re starting to notice how much of our story isn’t told in a national sense,” says Medrano.

He recently petitioned to let him in, but it doesn’t stop there. He is working on his masters in information science with a focus on preservation and archiving.

He essentially wants to continue the work that 81-year-old historian Ramón Hernández has been doing for over 40 years. Hernández currently directs Street Talk Magazine, where he continues to highlight culture, both past and present. He met Medrano and Spectrum News 1 at Wittliff Collections to be interviewed.

“He (Hernández) was the one who taught me about conservation and this is only from his personal experience. I haven’t learned this from my masters school before. This is literally from someone doing it, ”Medrano said.

Hernández answered her.

“Well, my education only comes in high school,” says Hernández.

Hernández has an exhibition named after him in the Wittliff collections, where his photos, memorabilia and costumes are kept.

This passion to preserve her gentes culture he started in the 1980s when he was a freelance writer for the San Antonio Express-News and the first artist I ever interviewed: Freddie Fender.

Freddy Fender talks to Ramón Hernández in 1988. (Spectrum News 1)

“The reason I chose Freddy Fender was because he was Chicano and, like Johnny Rodriguez, he was in the national spotlight as a country singer,” says Hernández.

Hernández developed such a strong relationship with the country music star that he was given one of Fender’s dresses, the same dress Medrano was admiring.

“This is what I want to leave ours peopleOur race”, Says Hernández.

Hernández glanced at Medrano and praised her for the work she is doing.

“What you are doing for Freddy Fender is highly commendable. I applaud you for this, “says Hernández.

Medrano’s eyes became bright as Hernández showered her with kind words.

Fender’s music inspired Dolly Parton, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999 and even performed it with him. Country music star Tim McGraw is another who has covered Fender’s music. Medrano believes he is long overdue to guard Fender.

Medrano says that consecrating Fender in the country music hall of fame will allow the next generation of artists who look like her to feel like they belong in spaces like these.

“Freddy Fender is just the beginning of the door that we want to open and have an equity in history,” says Medrano.

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