Fans of the Detroit rap-duo known as the Insane Clown Posse are infamous for their elaborate clown makeup and their rowdy behavior at concerts. Known as Juggalos and Juggalettes, these people have managed to build an entire community around a single band, and that community has developed a rather poor reputation among mainstream Americans. In 2011, Juggalos were officially designated as a "loosely-organized hybrid gang" by the FBI, further solidifying their unsavory rep. Because of their overwhelmingly negative portrayal in the media, a lot of Juggalos feel like their eccentric family is being misrepresented.
The truth about Juggalos is that they are nowhere near as psychopathic as their musical tastes and clown makeup suggests. They are people like anyone else, and they've managed to foster a community of love and family that is seemingly invisible to most outsiders. Every year, they come together to celebrate the Gathering of the Juggalos, a music festival centered around ICP and the Juggalo lifestyle. To some they may seem scary, but most people have no firsthand experience and are unable to judge what Juggalos are really like.
The reality is that being a Juggalo or a Juggalette goes beyond ICP, it's a family that looks to create lasting bonds within the community and celebrate weirdness in all forms. It's about homies, relationships, and building a support system for people who have been treated like outcasts for their entire lives. Being down with the clown means being a part of something larger than yourself, and the vast majority of Juggalos and Juggalettes are just people looking to have a good time without the fear of society's judgement.
The Community Accepts People From All Walks Of LifePhoto: Jared eberhardt / Flicker
Juggalos are a family, and ICP has been vehement in their support for people of color. The group has a very public record of being against racism, and they've even recorded multiple songs condemning bigotry. Lyrics from their song "Confederate Flag," a condemnation of racism, include "you get punched in your faces reppin' the racists" and reference a desire to violently murder members of the KKK.
In true ICP fashion, they go way over the top with their desire to punish racists, but the message is clear. If you mess with minorities, including members of the LGBT community, they will mess you up.
ICP Themselves Are Actually Devout ChristiansPhoto: A Jones / Flickr
Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope are known for spouting off some of the most offensive, over the top, and violent lyrics in the entire rap world. Their "Dark Carnival" mythos and the seemingly satanic imagery of their music videos might lead people to believe that the duo are a pair of godless heathens, but the truth might surprise you.
Their insane and unholy image is merely facade, as they explained when they came out as devout evangelical Christians. They even wrote a song devoted to their coming out as Christians, "Thy Unveiling."
Juggalos Organized A March On Washington In Response To Their FBI Gang DesignationPhoto: Resa Sunshine / Foter
When the FBI listed Juggalos as a gang in 2011, they became the only group of music fans in the country's history to be officially lumped together and treated as a mass of criminals. While it may sound unbelievable, the Juggalo gang designation has led to a host of real world issues for fans of the Insane Clown Posse. People take the FBI very seriously, and any affiliation with a gang can make it more difficult to be hired or even join the military.
In response to the FBI's decision, the Insane Clown Posse organized on march on Washington to challenge their gang designation and bring awareness to what they consider a civil rights issue, and it's one that is not being taken seriously enough. Thousands of clown-faced protestors descended on Washington to show their support for their extended family, outnumbering a pro-Trump rally that was held on the same day.
Many People Expected The Juggalo Protest To Turn Violent, But They Proved The Doubters WrongPhoto: Robert Bejil Productions / Foter
Surprising pretty much everyone, the Juggalos' march on the capital was remarkably peaceful. There was a lot of speculation that the Juggalos would get into a confrontation with the right-wing protest that was occurring in the city on the same day, but the Juggalos managed to buck their violent reputation and display a level of restraint that is thought to be uncharacteristic of large Juggalo gatherings.
There was no violence among the protestors, only respect and solidarity between family. Some members even stayed behind when the crowds were gone to clean up the mess made by their fellow Juggalos and Juggalettes.