New York University professor was writing Eddie Palmieri biography.
Juan Flores, a professor and writer whose work often explored music’s role in Latino identity, has died. The 71-year-old author of books such as From Bomba to Hip-Hop, Flores had reportedly been working on a biography of Puerto Rican pianist and bandleader Eddie Palmieri.
“His strongest work became the ethnographic unearthing of blackness in Latin music,” author and music critic Ed Morales wrote in an appreciation of Flores on his website. “From bomba to hip-hop, from bugalú to maracatú.”
Morales called Flores “a kid from Queens who loved to bugalú.”
Flores was born John Martin Flores in Alexandria, Virginia. His father was a Puerto Rican writer and academic; his mother was of Hungarian descent. Flores grew up in Bayside Queens and attended Queens College and Yale University, where he studied German.
He later changed his name to Juan and turned his full attention to the analysis of Latino culture, focusing on Puerto Rican life in the diaspora, exploring what he deemed “the pan-ethnic 'Latino' label and the uneasy fit of the Puerto Rican identity within it.”
Flores was the Director of Latino Studies at New York University, where he was a Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis.
His death on Dec. 2 was caused by complications from the autoimmune disease Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Flores’s wife, Miriam Jimenez Roman, told the New York Times.
Flores passed away at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, where he was admitted after falling ill while he attended a conference at the University. He lived with his wife in Brooklyn.