NOT CLOWNING AROUND
WHY insane clown Posse’s MARCH of THE juggalos WAS no LAUGHING MATTER
ASYOU’RE no doubt already aware, on Saturday, September 16, some 3,000 Insane Clown Posse fans marched on Washington.what’s perhaps less welldocumented, as people race to make easy jokes, is exactly why the Juggalos. as they’re affectionately known, travelled from across the U.S. to descend upon the country’s capital.
In short, it’s because they were protesting the FBI’S clarification of them as a “loosely-organised hybrid gang” as part of their 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, which suggested,“many Juggalos subsets exhibit gang-like behaviour and engage in criminal activity and violence.”
It’s a classification that’s had very real repercussions for Juggalos – from increased police scrutiny (including fans being pulled over because they’ve got the Detroit rap duo’s ‘hatchetman’ logo – in fact the symbol of Psychopathic Records and its artists) to losing jobs as a result of employers becoming aware of their musical affiliation.
While the music of Shaggy 2 Dope andviolent J – who play their first UK tour in 14 years in November – is met with derision in some quarters, and the sight of hordes of people in clown make-up might be hard to take seriously, the point they’re making is: the behaviour of isolated individuals shouldn’t be used to caricature an entire fanbase. Many clearly agree, too, as the march far outnumbered that of the pro-trump rally happening less than a mile away on the same weekend.
Of course, these lazy labels and condensing of falsehoods and halftruths are nothing new. In the aftermath of the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, the media clamoured to suggest the actions of the shooters, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, could be attributed to them listening to Marilyn Manson. Despite the fact, as it turned out, neither liked Manson’s music, the shock rocker and his actual fans were demonised for years after the event.
So what can be done? In the case of the Juggalos it’s all about clearing their collective name.a number of them (and the band themselves) are already doing so, having secured the services of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Insane Clown Posse’s native Michigan.yet a wider shift in attitudes, to see a change in the often dangerous, divisive labelling of alternative cultures is crucial.
The fight – peacefully fought, of course – continues.
JUGGALOS HAVE BEEN LABELLED A ‘gang’