Homenaje: Aurora Flores

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Starting a conversation with Aurora is easy: she is open, aware, and willing to share each and every one of her opinions. Ending a conversation with Aurora is not so easy: she has a lot to say, and she’s going to say it all.

Aurora has a long list of accomplishments. She is a musician, a composer, a writer, a journalist, a producer, an agent and daughter of Latin music and culture, and an activist.

As a journalist, many of Aurora’s successes include trailblazing work as the first Latino person and/or the first Latina woman to represent her people in many fields. She was the first Latina woman correspondent for Billboard Magazine; the first female editor of Latin NY; the first Latina writer for the Christian Science Monitor; and, Aurora was the first Latina writer for Ms. Magazine.

Despite these achievements, “and all of the work that women have done for our culture, we are still judged by our ‘physical accomplishments,’” laments Aurora.

Aurora, though, is determined to push forth, and she continues to rail against the ingrained misogyny women artists face in both mainstream and Latin culture. When women musicians and writers were “forced” to wear makeup, high heels and short skirts in order to be invited onstage or backstage, Aurora took her hippie look and Puerto Rican talent and created spaces for her own self including establishing her own successful PR firm, Aurora Communications.

Not even cancer could silence Aurora’s voice. It did, though, redirect her life. Aurora’s struggle with and eventual triumph over the disease convinced her to stop her part-time flirtations with music. She founded Zon del Barrio in 2003, a band that receives accolades for its infusion of traditional and urban sounds based on our collective Latino history of African, Indigenous and immigrant struggle and survival.

Today, Aurora is a cultural consultant. She teaches Latin music history, she lectures, she writes for TV, and she is completing another book.

But, through her eyes, her pen, her words, and her heart, beats the sound of a struggling Puerto Rican people and its culture. “It’s the rhythm of our talking that I love,” says Aurora with a smile. “It’s the music in our souls.”

 

Centro Voices (ISSN: 2379-3864).
The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of Centro Voices, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies or Hunter College, CUNY.