DCist Interviews Juggalos about Juggalo March / Pro-Trump Rally in DC

Yesterday, a journalist named Rachel Kurzius reached out to me about the upcoming Juggalo March.  I was able to connect her with a few other Juggalos, and we were individually interviewed for an article that she already has posted!

Mankini, Nate “Igor” Smith, and myself were quoted in the article responding to questions about what drew us into the Juggalo scene, what our hopes are for the march, and our thoughts on the Pro-Trump Mother Of All Rallies taking place at the same date and time.

I hope I represented us OK, and feel like both Nate and Mankini did too.  Check the full article out below:

From DCist.com:

Juggalos Want No Part Of The Pro-Trump Rally That Will Be Protesting The Same Day

In the popular imagination, Juggalos have turned from a gawked-at subculture known for clown facepaint to the vanguard of antifacism so fast you’d be forgiven for your whiplash.

“I would never have thought I’d hear rallying cries that Juggalos are the savior of America. It’s the weirdest thing ever,” says 31-year-old local D.C. juggalo Chris Fabritz, who lives in Germantown and goes by the nickname “Mankini.” “My fear is that people are supporting us because the assumption is that we’re going up against the alt-right and that’s not why we’re here.”

The fans of horror-rap duo Insane Clown Posse are gathering in D.C. on September 16. They’ll be sharing the National Mall with four other demonstrations, one of which is the so-called Mother of All Rallies. The coalition of groups is rallying to “protect and preserve American culture,” a phrase that’s become a dog-whistle for white supremacy in the wake of Charlottesville.

But the Juggalos want nothing to do with it. They have been planning their own rally for more than a year to protest their classification as a gang by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Still, as non-Juggalos learn more about the ideology of the group, they’ll see that Insane Clown Posse has “been talking about anti-racist and anti-rebel flag stuff since the early ’90s,” says Scottie D., a 36-year-old Juggalo from Dallas who runs Faygoluvers.net, the biggest Juggalo blog and plans to attend the march.

One of the first songs on Insane Clown Posse’s debut album, Carnival of Carnage, is called “Your Rebel Flag,” featuring lyrics like “Punk, I’ll put a slug in your bald head / Scalp a skinhead quick / And your greasy-ass triple clan and shit / And zip you up in a bag / And I’ll shit on a mother fuckin Rebel flag.” Another huge hit, “Chicken Hunter,” is about killing rednecks.

“People think ICP fans are rednecks, but they’re getting beat up by rednecks. They hate these guys,” says Nate “Igor” Smith, founder of Driven By Boredom and one of the first journalists to cover the Gathering of the Juggalos, where thousands of fans gather annually.

But he adds that focusing on the explicit violence in Insane Clown Posse’s lyrics is missing the point. “You shouldn’t take any individual lyric too seriously, because it’s supposed to be funny. Think about ICP like you would a B-horror movie,” says Smith. “The thing is about the lyrics is two things. There’s what they’re actually saying; we’re gonna kill people, but the message of their lyrics is also very moral. Usually when they’re murdering people in their songs, it’s because those people are bigots.”

Fabritz agrees. “They’re clearly talking about being a good human being even though there’s this violent disgusting imagery in there,” he says. “The smoke and mirrors, the theatrics of it, it’s a way to draw people in.”

Fabritz and Smith have each been to a number of gatherings apiece, but Scottie D. has been to all 18 and says that’s a great way to see the Juggalo mentality in action. “It’s a feeling like no other show or fanbase that I’ve ever been a part of,” he says. “A lot of us have that commonality of being the picked on ones in school, being the outcast, and that’s where we know we have that sense of belonging with each other.”

In the D.C. metropolitan area, most of the Juggalos are based near Baltimore or in Virginia, says Fabritz. He estimates the local population is around a “couple hundred. I wouldn’t say more than that—there’s so few in D.C., but there might even be 1,000 total in the DMV area. Sure, there are Juggalos who have house parties, but we’re so spread out here, we only see each other at concerts.”

He one of many local Juggalos doing everything they can to ensure that people who want to come to the rally have a place to stay. So far, he’s already okayed seven people to sleep in his living room, and welcomes more.

“We’re not marching to terrorize the city. We’re not coming to riot. We’re not coming to harm anyone,” says Fabritz. “We’re coming to show the entire world that that’s exactly what we don’t do. We’re a family. We’re loving individuals, we’re compassionate. We just want to stop being called a gang.”

Since 2011, the FBI has classified Juggalos as “a loosely-organized hybrid gang.” The agency wrote that “Many Juggalos subsets exhibit gang-like behavior and engage in criminal activity and violence. Most crimes committed by Juggalos are sporadic, disorganized, individualistic, and often involve simple assault, personal drug use and possession, petty theft, and vandalism.”

Scottie D. says, “I definitely don’t consider myself a gang member. I don’t have any arrests or felonies. There are some [Juggalos] that do, a lot of Juggalos come from a different background, but we’re like any other kind of subculture in America.”

The gang classification has real repercussions for fans. Wearing ICP-related apparel or sporting “Hatchetman” tattoos has resulted in harassment by law enforcement, job loss, dismissal from military service, eviction, lost child custody, barring people on parole from talking to other Juggalos, and more.

“The Juggalos are fighting for the basic American right to freely express who they are, to gather and share their appreciation of music, and to discuss issues that are important to them without fear of being unfairly targeted and harassed by police,” said Michael J. Steinberg, ACLU of Michigan legal director, in a statement.

“There are crews of Juggalos that exist and some Juggalos who commit crime, but they have nothing to do with most Juggalos,” Smith says.

The rest of the group gets screwed over nonetheless, says Scottie D. “It really affects their livelihood and their friendships. I’ve got lifelong friends who are Juggalos and that would destroy me not to be able to talk to them.”

That’s why Scottie D. wants to make sure that the real message of the march gets out there—that of the Juggalo’s ongoing fight against the FBI. Insane Clown Posse teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan in 2014 to sue over the gang classification, a case that continues to snake its way through the legal system.

“Some of the people putting on the pro-Trump march have reached out to Juggalos and tried to combine them,” says Scottie D. But even if the MOAR has more attendees than the Juggalos, he has no interest in joining forces. “I’d rather not be associated with it.”

He doesn’t want Juggalos to focus on fighting the Mother of All Rallies attendees, either. “I think a majority of Juggalos are probably pretty left-leaning socially—I know I personally am—but there are definitely a fair share of Trump supporters which are Juggalos, which honestly blows my mind, but to each their own. The National Mall is a gigantic place and I’m hoping neither side even crosses paths with each other. The last thing that we need is for some Juggalo to punch a Trump supporter.”

Fabritz says, “At no point in time do I think any of us, any of the Juggalos, have anything else on our mind except showing everybody else in the world we’re not what you think. We’re not ignorant, inbred white trash.”

When asked about the Trump rally happening on the same day, Shaggy 2 Dope, one half of the Insane Clown Posse, told SPIN, “What can you do? Who gives a shit, it’s our day to shine too. Fuck them. We don’t got nothing to do with that. But they got as much right to do their thing as we do ours … No Juggalo’s going to bum rush no Trump supporter, because we don’t give a fuck. We’re not there for that. But if some beef does cook, it’s probably because somebody on their side is popping off at the mouth.”

Smith says that it’s important to take the Juggalos’ demands seriously. “People say that you can live a different life—cover your tattoos or take the sticker off your car. But it’s your right as a human to put a sticker on your car, to have these tattoos. That’s your right.”

It’s Less Than A Month Until The Juggalos Have To Share The National Mall With Pro-Trump Rally
Juggalos Are Going To March On Washington Next Fall

from Faygoluvers


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