julian jumpin perez my house music festival

Following in the footsteps of Jerry “Iceman” Butler and other musicians who turned into Chicago powerbrokers, Hot Mix 5 DJ and house music legend Julian “Jumpin'” Perez is reportedly running for public office.

Block Club Chicago and The Daily Line report that Perez filed a D-1 statement for the “Friends of Julian Perez” – a document indicating the organization of a new political committee – with the Illinois Board of Elections on Tuesday, April 12, 2022. The Daily Line’s Erin Hegarty confirmed that the “Julian Perez” whose friends are organizing on his behalf is in fact Julian “Jumpin'” Perez.

The D-1 statement indicates that Perez intends to challenge incumbent Alderman Roberto Maldonado in Chicago’s 26th Ward. (Chicago’s City Council is currently deadlocked on a new map for the 2023 election with different boundaries, which may result in it being thrown to voters to decide in the next few months.)

Julian Perez is easily among the handful of DJs who brought house music to the masses in the first wave of Chicago house music. A member of the Hot Mix 5, he was one of the most influential radio DJs in house music history.

Perez made headlines in 2019 after making a joke about immigrants fleeing ICE enforcement from the stage of Festival Cubano:

Perez’s precise language is not clear, but social media posts from those in attendance claim that during a call-and-response segment with various Latino communities, he said something along the lines of “How do you keep Mexicans quiet? Call ICE.”


Amidst a backlash and cancelled gigs, Perez (who is Cuban) apologized in both video and in statements on social media. “After I said it, I was like ‘Oh… I probably shouldn’t have said that,’ because of your reaction. I said it, people laughed and then they stopped,” he said in a video. “And then I got boo’d. Which I should have.”

The incident would likely come up in any election campaign (the Block Club Chicago story cites it), though Perez repeatedly apologized for what he called a “stupid joke”:

I would never intentionally say anything to hurt anyone, especially my own people. As Hispanics or any other nationality, we make fun of our heritage at one point or another. I’ve been told ‘did you come here on a banana boat or did you swim?’ I laughed but thinking back at how many families with children drown trying to find a better life, I maybe should have been outraged. But the truth is I took it for what it was because the person that made that comment didn’t mean to offend me. With that said, my apologies are sincere and heartfelt! I made a mistake that I’m truly sorry for. In a time when we are pushed further into division, we need to come together and unite. To my Mexican family members and to every person of Mexican decent, My sincerest apologies to ALL.