What You Need to Know About the Juggalo March on Washington

The fanbase of Insane Clown Posse, which has been labeled a 'gang' by FBI, protests Sept. 16.

September 12, 2017 10:26 am
Juggalos 101: Who They Are, and Why They're Marching on Washington
Insane Clown Posse perform on stage, crowd usrfing over audience, at the Hi Fi Bar on 17th May 2003 in Melbourne, Australia. (Martin Philbey/Redferns)

To understand the Juggalo movement, one must first begin with its godfathers: hip-hop group the Insane Clown Posse.

Consisting of two grown men—Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope (stage names, of course)—who paint their faces in menacing, black-and-white clown makeup and rap about things like “miracles.” ICP got their start in Detroit in the late ’80s, and have since become an acquired taste for millions of fans around the world. (They had their breakout during the “anything goes” ’90s.) The group’s live shows have taken on a life of their own—equal parts Woodstock, Ringling Bros. and Alice Cooper concert— and reach a climax at the group’s annual Gathering of the Juggalos.

The name “Juggalo,” or simply, an ICP fan, finds its origins in the song “The Juggla” from the group’s 1992 debut, Carnival of Carnage.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s worth explaining how all this became a political movement.

In 2011, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Gang Intelligence Center listed Juggalos as a “loosely-organized hybrid gang,” noting that they “engage in criminal activity and violence.” (Mind you, this was a report that also included information on human trafficking, prostitution, and Mexican drug gangs.) ICP has since sued the FBI to have their fanbase removed from the list, unsuccessfully. In a group statement back in 2015, ICP said: “The FBI’s labeling of Juggalos as a gang has wreaked havoc on thousands of lives, resulting in job losses, dismissal from military service, eviction, lost child custody and constant harassment and profiling from law enforcement organizations all across the country.”

In short, the FBI listing hasn’t been a small deal at all—and lacking the ability to use the court system to get their word out, the group decided to take to the streets.

Which brings us to the Juggalo March on Washington, which is actually happening this Saturday, September 16, on the National Mall at the Lincoln Memorial. Per the march’s official site, the gathering in D.C. will be a way for the group and its followers to protest being labeled a “gang” by the FBI and “to make a collective statement … to the world about what we are and what we are not.”

According to Rolling Stone, there’s been an additional buzz for the ICP protest, as alt-right groups have been planning to march in the same vicinity that day. ICP is surprisingly progressive, and have a song called “(F— Your) Rebel Flag.” But one Juggalo quoted in RS’ piece said that politics would be off the table, at least for him, on the day of the march. “Politics keep people divided,” he told Rolling Stone. “Juggalos come from many different political backgrounds, but unlike the general population, we are able to coexist and work together in harmony.”

Watch the group’s “infomercial” for the march below (note: It features language that may not be suitable for an office environment).

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