Where does Juggalo come from?
Insane Clown Posse emerged in the early 1990s following the breakup of an earlier group, Inner City Posse. The first Insane Clown Posse album, Carnival of Carnage, was released in 1992.
One of the tracks on that album, “the Juggla” would serve as the inspiration for the group’s followers’ nickname. During a live performance of “the Juggla” in 1994, Joseph Bruce, better known by his stage name Violent J, referred to the audience as Juggalos.
The ICP fanbase has formed its own subculture, comparable to the Grateful Dead’s Deadheads. Beyond wearing band merchandise, Juggalos have been known to wear clown makeup in the style of ICP members, and to drink Faygo, a Detroit-based soda brand.
On their 1997 album The Great Milenko, Insane Clown Posse released a song “What is a Juggalo?” Rather than providing a strict definition, the song describes strange or absurd behavior a juggalo might engage in, for example: “He gets butt-naked/And then he walks through the streets/
Winking at the freaks/With a two-liter stuck in his butt-cheeks.”
Since 2000, ICP has hosted a multi-day festival known as The Gathering of the Juggalos. In May 2009, the documentary A Family Underground was released, chronicling the ninth Gathering of the Juggalos. That same year, Saturday Night Live parodied the Gathering of the Juggalos, particularly the conditions at the festival and the notoriously rowdy behavior of the fans, in an ad for the fictional “Kickspit Underground Rock Festival.”
2009 also saw the first post of the Tumblr blog Look at this Fucking Juggalo, which posts unflattering photos of Juggalos.
Juggalos gained further notoriety following the 2010 Gathering where Juggalos threw debris at performer Tila Tequila.
An FBI report, released in 2011 declared Juggalos a criminal gang, noting involvement of ICP fans in “thefts, hand-to-hand drug sales and felony assaults.” Insane Clown Posse along with four Juggalos filed a lawsuit against the FBI with the help of the ACLU. In the suit, they claimed the FBI report infringed their First Amendment rights and caused “their fans to be detained, questioned and harassed by law enforcement agencies across the country.” The case was initially dismissed, but the dismissal was overturned by the federal appeals court. The case was ultimately dismissed again, which lead the group to organize a Juggalo March on Washington in September 2017.
Juggalos have also been known to work together on charity and community service projects.
Who uses Juggalo?
Although Juggalos are proud of their identity as such, they are frequently the butt of jokes and offensively likened to “white trash.” A 2013 book referred to them along with fans of the band Phish (Phishheads) as “Two of Music’s Most Maligned Tribes.” ICP has even sold shirts describing themselves as the “World’s Most Hated Band.”
“a little girl has face paint on in Disneyland
Jeff:'oh look a baby juggalo'”
@sweatshirtmom Twitter (May 2, 2017)
“Juggalos are Joker henchmen stuck in the wrong universe.”
lordpandiora Reddit (March 22, 2015)
“One of the Juggalos, a short man with a dirty goatee, was flailing around a live lobster. He was running around with it until he spotted a friend, a fat guy, who grabbed the lobster and rubbed it against the short man's goatee. Then the short man licked the lobster.
'That's how you get crabs!' shouted a Juggalo in the distance. 'That's how Juggalos are born!'”
Mitchell Sunderland, “BO, Malt Liquor, and Faygo: A Juggalo Motel Party,” Vice (June 2, 2015)