Recently, the b-boy troupe “Hunab Kru” were surprised to learn that one of their newest members was arrested, and would later be deported to Mexico. The circumstances are complex, and the impact of this loss has been felt by many. On Saturday, August 7, the Hunab Kru attended a benefit for B-boy Aztec’s legal aid called “Rock or Flock” in Atlanta, Georgia. There were exhibitions, cyphers, and 1vs1 battles at the event. The battle that lies ahead will be difficult , but in the end, the Hunab Kru hopes to see Edwin Labra reunited with his family and friends, as a citizen of the United States of America.
Now 24, Edwin has been in the U.S. since he was 2 years old. When he was 17, Edwin made some poor choices. He was arrested and convicted of felony and petty larceny charges for stealing from a Flea Market. Edwin was sentenced to five years of probation. He was released from his sentence after four years for good behavior and paying restitution. However, Edwin was unaware that his guilty plea and conviction revoked the opportunity to become a citizen of the United States.
Edwin Labra and his brother Brayan were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at their home in Spartanburg, S..C, at 5:30 a.m. on May 19. Brayan is 21 years old and has been in the U.S. since infancy. He has no criminal record, is a high school graduate, and is still incarcerated awaiting trial. Edwin chose to “return” to Mexico (a country he has never called home), and now resides with his grandparents, whom he is getting to know. Without question, the most difficult circumstance that Edwin faces is being separated from his fiance, Anna, and their four year old son Cruz.
Anna and Cruz attended the event joined by Edwin’s younger brother Elmer.
At the “Rock or Flock” benefit in Atlanta, cultural ideals were on display. The event was organized by two veteran b-boys of the south. Zapper, of the HBO Crew (Atlanta, GA), and Frantic, of Mixed Motions (Columbia, S.C.) welcomed b-girls and b-boys to a warehouse jam where dancers could network, socialize, and test their skills against one another. The crowd was diverse in many ways, but everyone there shared a common interest in showing support for a member of the b-boy/b-girl community. Money was raised to help pay for Edwin Labra’s legal fees through donations and a cover at the door. Clothing sponsors Frock of Seatle, WA and Supa Dope Fresh of Atlanta, GA donated a portion of their proceeds.
B-boy Frantic (left) and B-boy Zapper at Rock or Flock.
Dj Ethical spins positive vibes and funky breaks.
B-boy Frantic is a long time friend of Aztec’s (Aztec is also a member of the Mixed Motions crew in South Carolna). Frantic made it possible for Aztec to watch the battles, and for everyone at the event to see and speak with him via Skype. Through a virtual connection, a father reunited with his son and fiance. Edwin Labra was true to form with a smile on his face as he watched the event live at an internet cafe in Mexico.
Family and friends interact with Edwin (pictured on laptop screen) via Skype.
People danced non-stop from 4:30 pm till late at night. The most exciting battle was an exhibition between two young brothers. J Killa and Mud Pitt were scheduled for a 10 round one-on-one battle that lasted an amazing 18 rounds. Not only did these two have incredible stamina, they also boasted an array of original moves, musicality, and personality. J Killa was announced as the winner in the end, but he better watch out for his younger brother in the future. These two are both members of the HBO crew in ATL, and their crew is a force to be reckoned with.
Brothers B-boy Mud Pitt (left) and B-boy J Killa.
B-boy Mud Pitt’s hollowback freeze.
B-boy J Killa displaying footwork prowess.
Back in Asheville, the Hunab Kru carry on without their compadre, look toward the future, and take aim at being an influential part of their community. There is more to this story, and there will be updates as more information is available. Frantic will host two more benefits in the coming months, and the Hunab Kru will also host an event in Asheville (TBA), that will aid Edwin and his family. If you would like to show your support, become a fan of Hunab Kru on Facebook. In the words of a b-boy anthem, by Jimmy Castor Bunch, “Its just begun.”
Text by Joseph H. Adams Photos by Jonathan Welch
By: Jimmy Castor Bunch 1972
Watch me now
Feel the groove
Gonna make you move
Here we come
On the run
Don’t know what we’re running from
Day or night
Black or white
Dance or sing
You gotta do your thing
Peace will come
This world will rest
Once we have togetherness
Day or night
We had fun
But it’s just begun
It’s just begun
It’s just begun