I am going to admit something to all of you today… I have never been a fan of Insane Clown Posse’s music or culture.
The band’s musical genre is something called “Rap Horrorcore,” which is described as a horror movie except for music. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but it’s not really my cup of tea.
(You can see some of their music videos here if you’re interested. Be forewarned there is a lot of objectionable language, and visuals in their videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/InsaneClownPosseVEVO/videos)
Fans of the band are called Juggalos and one of the most common threads in their stories is that they come from difficult backgrounds.
While I don’t like their music, but I am in awe of the camaraderie and community that they’ve built around the world.
People from across the nation travel each year to their “Gathering of the Juggalos” and they treat each other as family and the closest of friends… even if they’ve just met.
A few years ago the Obama administration’s Justice Department labeled the fans of Insane Clown Posse (or ICP), called Juggalos, as a “gang.” At first this designation amused ICP and their fans, who didn’t realize what kind of impact they had made on the culture at large. However, soon stories of police abuse, government spying, job loss, and other examples of oppression began pouring in and ICP knew that this was not a “funny” situation.
In response ICP sued the federal government but their suit was repeatedly tossed out by the judge before ever going to trial.
The group, and their fans, no longer know how they should respond so they’re reacting in the most American way possible… they are going to march on Washington, D.C. in defense of the First Amendment.
The Juggalos aren’t just ICP fans— they’ve built a cultural identity around the music, the rap duo, and what it represents. In turn, ICP has stood up for its followers as they’ve been harassed and profiled all over the country. Unwittingly, these two white rappers from Detroit have become some of the nation’s most determined advocates for free expression.
On September 16, 2017, ICP will lead the Juggalos in a march on the National Mall in Washington D.C. They’ll be protesting the FBI’s decision to label the group as a “hybrid gang” back in 2011 in the agency’s National Gang Threat Assessment. Since then, local police have used the report as guidance, resulting in rampant harassment and profiling of a group defined by its love for a music group.
ICP sued the FBI in 2014, but after three appeals, the case hasn’t made it to trial. So now the group is heading to D.C.
“It’s a publicity stunt,” says ICP’s Violent J (Joseph Bruce). “We want to say to everybody, ‘we’re not cool with that.'”
“[If] Juggalos are being fucked with, we got to do something about it,” says Violent J’s partner Shaggy 2 Dope (Joseph Utsler). “If that ties us into some First Amendment movement, whatever, we’re First Amendment warriors. I don’t know.”
I may not be a fan of their music, but I appreciate their efforts to defend the First Amendment. As Americans, we must remember that the First Amendment applies to every American not just the people we agree with or the people we understand. ICP and the Juggalos deserve to enjoy their right to free speech and free assembly without worry that the government will persecute them for their association or words. They deserve this because they are American citizens, and we defend our own.
On September 16, 2017, horror-core rap group Insane Clown Posse will lead the Juggalos (their fans) in a march on the National Mall in Washington D.C. They’ll be protesting the FBI’s decision to label them as a “hybrid gang” back in 2011, which has lead to harassment and profiling of a group defined by its love for a music group. They are expected to share the mall that afternoon with a pro-Trump rally.