This past July, I had one of those weekends. The kind where you completely over-commit to everything, manage to do it all, feel like absolute shit, and still walk away proud. This story doesn’t have much to do with that weekend, in fact, really only one part—the ending. But here’s a little background. It started with a four-day (very humid, alcohol induced) long weekend in New Orleans with ten of my best girlfriends, and ended with me taking an 8am flight after not sleeping, landing in JFK, making a pitstop at my apartment before heading to a Rammstein concert in Jones Beach. Yes, I told someone who had an extra ticket I would go. Yes, I was well aware of my previous commitments. And yes, I really only knew one song. You know, Du Hast, du hast me? To be honest I was pretty scared. Long Island on the weekend, Rammstein fans? The merch table put Kanye hype boys to shame. By no means am I equating Rammstein fans to juggalo’s but there was a good amount of crossover. The craziest part is, everyone was so. damn. nice.
Photographer Andrew Blumenthal experienced something similar (minus the pyrotechnics) this past weekend when he headed to the Juggalo March on Washington DC. Since 1994, the dedicated fanbase behind horrorcore group, Insane Clown Posse (ICP) have been referencing themselves as juggalos and/or juggalettes from the moment Violent J addressed the audience during a live performance. So wait … Why was this mystifying subculture of dudes who proudly show off their manboobs and cover their faces in clown paint protesting? The FBI adding them to the Gang Assessment List in 2011 is a pretty good reason. Still following right? Translation: Thousands of die-hard fans who like to drink beers, smoke pot and make poor outfit decisions are on the same list as Bloods, the Mexican drug cartel Barrio Azteca, and MS-13.
At the march, members shared personal testimonies about losing their jobs or custody of their children—all for liking an ICP song on Facebook. Still stuck in legal limbo from a lawsuit filed by the ACLU in 2014, the band of misfits took to the streets—speaking to their culture as a family of individuals who have been left out and misunderstood for not meeting societal norms. Blumenthal explains how unlike the pro-Trump rally happening on the opposite side (which the juggalo’s openly stated they were not aligned with) the crowd was. They were incredibly kind, preaching “We’re a family” over and over to portray themselves as people who love music and togetherness, not a gang. Because at the end of the day, If Jets fans can paint their face, shotgun some Budweiser, cheer on their team after a 25pt loss and still have a job on Monday… Shouldn’t a juggalo?