Last weekend an unlikely group of super fans, known as Juggalos, marched in Washington, D.C. The devout followers of the rap duo Insane Clown Posse (or ICP) used their constitutional right to protest the FBI’s labelling of fans as a gang.
According to some Juggalos they have lost their jobs, lost custody of their children, been the victims of police profiling, and have been denied the right to join the military because of their involvement and support of the group. While some fans have been involved in crimes, many Juggalos who turned out for the protest deny any involvement in gang activity.
Insane Clown Posse is a rap group comprised of members Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J. Their style, known as horrorcore, lends to a general feeling of uneasiness and concern about the group and their fans. Not to mention the clown makeup that some fans wear along with merchandise of “hatchet man,” the band’s mascot. Yet, does the band’s vocal stylings and fans’ adornment of face paint warrant the label of a gang? Should they be on the same list as the Mafia and Yakuza? These questions raise an even greater one: should someone face repercussions because of the kind of music they listen to?
I would personally feel embarrassed if someone scrolled through my iPod and found some of the songs and bands that I regularly listen to (I’m looking at you, Culture Club). However, I cannot imagine losing a job or possibly being arrested for listening to a particular band or style of music. In the case of Juggalos, the music, face paint, and Juggalo culture make ICP fans an easy target for the FBI. Who - aside from Juggalos themselves - is going to defend them when most people cannot overlook the clown makeup and hatchet man gear? While some may disregard the gang label and recent protest because they simply do not care, the greater implications of the FBI’s accusation are worrying.