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.
🚨🚨Got confirmation this evening that the Julian Perez who filed a publicly available D-1 Statement of Organization to run as alderman of the 26th Ward is in fact well-known Chicagoland DJ @julianjumpin Perez. https://t.co/o0w7MCHrhJ
— Erin Hegarty (@erin_hegarty) April 14, 2022
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:
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”: