Juggalos -- fans of the band Insane Clown Posse -- have an image problem. They see themselves as peaceful, music-loving members of the extended ICP family, but plenty of cops and the like think they're part of a potentially dangerous quasi-gang. Juggalo Nation is now countering this perception with Juggalos Fight Back, a website where Juggalos (including some from Colorado) tell stories about discrimination and more.
As we noted in this 2010 post, it's far too easy to blame ICP for producing murderous impulses in some of its followers -- and indeed, band member Violent J has always tried to distance himself from such acts.
In a 1997 Westword interview entitled "The Jeers of a Clown," he put it this way while describing record-label objections to the song "Boogie Woogie Wu," which veers from goofy humor ("Ouch! Fuck! I stubbed my toe!/If you'd stop leavin' your shit all over the fuckin' floor") to overt lethality ("Fuck it -- you're dead anyway/And I'll leave your head smack dead in the hallway").
"They said the song was about killin' kids. Now, I have to admit, it may sound like that. But as God is my witness, that is not how I intended it, not how I see it, not how I feel it. To me, it's just like a horror movie -- a scary movie, you know what I mean? And I don't know why the fuck it is that there's a problem when something like that's on a disc instead of a movie. I mean, in a fuckin' movie, you can fuckin' see guys gettin' their heads blown off, but in music, you just hear about it. So you'd think people should be protestin' movies way more than they do music, you know what I mean? But instead, they're protestin' me, even though most of what we do is just entertainment. I don't want people to work all week and then come to a show to get preached at, like fuckin' Rage Against the Machine. I want them to have fun. So when I say, 'Yo, I fucked that bitch and blah, blah, blah,' I'm not doin' it to piss somebody off. I'm doin' it because it's funny. We make funny songs, you know what I mean? A lot of it's tongue-in-cheek, but these dumb motherfuckers can't figure that out.
"That ain't stoppin' me, though. There could be fifty million protesters outside my concert, but I don't give a fuck, you know what I mean? Nobody is ever gonna stop me from doin' what I'm doin'. I don't care if I have to drive around with a bullhorn and yell it from the top of my car. I'm always gonna say what I say, and I don't give a fuck who I offend. Besides, all the times where we talk about killin' somebody, it's always a bigot or a greedy rich guy or a racist drunk or somethin'. So for you to be bothered by that, you got to be a bigot or a racist. I don't know why people don't understand that."
In 2010, though, two separate local incidents cast Juggalos in a bad light. That May, Tess Damm, a self-proclaimed Juggalette who'd been convicted of helping her boyfriend murder her mom three years earlier, was accused of a jailhouse escape attempt that involved strangling a guard with a shoelace. And the next month, Jeremy McKim was busted for a stabbing outside a Colorado ICP concert.
Online, Damm called herself a Christian and wrote, "My family means a lot to me." But she also declared, "A fucking bitch is what I am."
As for McKim, his social-media postings included the following blurb:
ILL RAPE YOUR DOG AND MURDER YOUR MOTHER FAGGOT, all day on that MOST HATED shit,JSG all the real fucking homies that aint fronting like some bitch ass queer made motherfuckers! Clown love to all my real juggalos and lettes Keep it ON THAT EAST SIDE!
These are the exceptions, not the rules, stresses Juggalos Fight Back, whose goal is to "educate the public on what we're REALLY about."
Part of that effort is encapsulated in a brochure reproduced below in its entirety. Here's the website intro to the document:
Let's face it, ninjas -- a lot of people just don't understand us Juggalos. Perhaps they never will fully grasp the special family ties that bond us together but does that give them the right to call us gang members or a menace to society? Of course not! But it's always easier to attack what you don't understand. So what we have to do is educate the public on what Juggalos are really about. And YOU can help spread this knowledge by simply printing out this pamphlet and giving it to folks who could use some Juggalo education. Do your parents, clergymen or employer sneer at you or eye you suspiciously because you're a Juggalo? Has a law enforcement official ever accused you of being in a gang simply because you're wearing a Hatchetman charm? Next time someone gives you the bone for being a Juggalo, simply hand them one of these pamphlets and tell them you'll be happy to answer any questions they might have about the Juggalo family. Education cures prejudice, Juggalos! Help spread the word!
However, another component is to allow Juggalos from across the country to share stories about how they've been mistreated simply for digging ICP. Continue for the personal story of one Colorado Juggalo, plus the brochure. This post is by RedHotMissy. She writes:
Hello fellow fam, My name is Melissa and I wanted to share with you an unfortunate expirience I had with the law enforcement officers of arapahoe county in colorado. I recently had my old landlord physically attack me and i had witnesses. When the polic showed up they refused to let me file a report refused to even hear my witnesses. unknowing to me i had a warrant for my arrest because of an old charge. while incarcerated they found my icp tattoo which had already been put on fbi list because of the supposed gang crap. I was ordered into a lock down where three officers proceeded to come into my sell and while trying to restrain me they decided to slam my head into the concrete wall and pull my shoulder out of socket. i began to say dont touch me dont hurt me. then i was drug outta my cell and put in solitary where they stripped me and left me naked in front of cameras with no coverage left for two hours then when someone finally came to get me they took me to police physch where they asked why i feared for my life. i explain about the mistreatment of me because i was a juggalo and i had an icp tattoo they told me if i had a problem with the way i was treated i should just get my tattoo removed. to others that feel that this was wrong please reply
Here's another local post, from chrisalettedatwickedjuggalette. It reads:
i live in arvada colorado and i went 2 the colorado mills mall and the westminster mall wit some homies and we wore our hatchetgear nd they made us leave cuz of this shit. 2 yeers b4 they sayd we r a gang. i meen WTF man?
There's lots more tale like this on the website, which is intended as a first step toward convincing America that Damm and McKim aren't indicative of Juggalos as a whole.
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Here's the aforementioned brochure.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Insane Clown Posse stabbings: Are some fans too stupid to understand irony?"