Neu Black

Free Kutmah

05.17.10   |   Posted in: Art & Design, Music   |   By: Toshi Jones
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Justin “Kutmah” McNulty has circulated on the LA deejay scene for years. His Sketchbook night at Little Temple precedes the acclaimed beat scene instituation Low End Theory and serves as an inspiration to many. His music has helped define the beat sound which has evolved in recent years and is only now getting national recognition. At the same time Kutmah has made a name for himself in the LA art scene. His detailed line work and use of unconventional mediums has propelled his work and garnered great success at LA galleries. Photo (left): Josh Weiss

The Los Angeles creative and music communities were rocked earlier this month when Kutmah was obtained on in the early morning hours of May 5th at his Mount Washington area home and quickly moved to an immigration holding facility in New Mexico. He arrived in the United States at the age of twelve. It was then that he and his mother attempted to justify their reasons to remain here. In 1997 they made a final attempt and applied for green cards for which they were denied and asked to voluntarily leave the country. It is the violation of this deportation order that led to the events of May 5th. Why he was specifically targeted is still unclear as Kutmah has no criminal record and Immigrations and Customs enforcement officials have refrained from comment in this matter.

The question we ask ourselves today is how do members of the creative community affect the community as a whole? While main stream media reports the emergence of the LA beat sound and the music community looks forward to a new era, one of the foundational members has been completely removed. What is the value of the creative vision?

Kutmah has been called an innovator and a visionary . His inventive spirit is recalled by many who’ve know his work. Friend and HIT+RUN co-founder Brandy Flower commented “He’s always been ahead of the pack with his desire for the new. The same way he would find a new musical scene, through his involvement with immigration he’s defining a new sociopolitical scene.”

As immediately as he was taken, friends and colleges rallied in support of Kutmah, utilizing social media and directly contacting local and state authorities in an effort to re-open his case. Tonight they will be holding “Free Kutmah: Sketchbook Sessions” at the Verdugo Bar. Over 20 guest DJ’s have signed on including Gaslamp Killer and Abcnt, where one hundred percent of donations will benefit Kutmah.

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