This is Insane Clown Posse.
They are a rap group from Michigan and the de facto icons of the Juggalo subculture.
A Juggalo is a person characterized by stark black-and-white clown-face makeup who listens to Insane Clown Posse’s music. You could describe the band’s music as aggressive, hard-core rap. Or maybe not: This writer has near-zero familiarity with their music.
A female Juggalo is a Juggalette, per Wikipedia.
Some Juggalos have, in recent times, been linked to gang violence — or at least that’s how the federal government sees it. However, as Wired relays, the entirety of the “gang violence” categorization may rest on just two arrests in Salt Lake City in 2011, which prompted an investigation into possible gang activity.
Then, in 2011, the FBI categorized Juggalos as a “non-traditional gang” in their National Gang Threat Assement. In it, the FBI writes:
The Juggalos, a loosely-organized hybrid gang, are rapidly expanding into many US communities. Although recognized as a gang in only four states, many Juggalos subsets exhibit gang-like behavior and engage in criminal activity and violence. Law enforcement officials in at least 21 states have identified criminal Juggalo sub-sets….
Most crimes committed by Juggalos are sporadic, disorganized, individualistic, and often involve simple assault, personal drug use and possession, petty theft, and vandalism.
The FBI admits that the group is “difficult to classify … and identify their members and migration patterns,” kind of like this rare species of Amazon bird. Hybrid gangs, they write, have a “nebulous structure.” Kind of like clouds, whose contours and menace tend to disappear upon closer inspection. It seems entirely possible that the FBI is conflating gang crimes with a few sporadic instances of hooliganism, based on the stereotype of a person who might look apt to commit a crime.
Peaceful Juggalos were offended by the description of their subculture in this manner, and argued that the actions of a view shouldn’t implicate the reputation of the whole. That’s why Insane Clown Posse, along with several other Juggalos who have faced discrimination (one was told to remove his Juggalo tattoo before joining the military) filed suit Wednesday morning in a Detroit federal court with help from the ACLU. They want “Juggalos” purged from the FBI gang primer. This follows a suit the group filed in 2012 over a FOIA request to obtain information about the federal investigation.
As they announced to their fans when they filed the FOIA suit last year:
Listen up, Homies! This is the biggest thing to rock the Juggalo and Juggalette universe and we’ve got all the details for you right here! In case you haven’t heard, then get ready! The Insane Clown Posse and Psychopathic Records have kept their word and filed a lawsuit against the FBI on behalf of the Juggalo Family TODAY! …
Really, this is the first time in the history of rock-n-roll that any music fans have been labeled as a “gang” and that’s probably because it makes no damn sense!
Insane Clown Posse member Violent J says that the group’s image is unfairly distorted by the FBI, telling Rolling Stone, “All we’re trying to do is be like the Stephen King of music. We like to tell horror stories.”
Update: This short documentary on Juggalos explaining their culture is worth watching (H/T Alex Seitz-Wald)
What We're Following See More »
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal to the "federal disclosure rules for political advertising," leaving in place the ruling by a lower court upholding a law requiring the disclosure of donors to political ads. The appeal came from "a Denver-based libertarian think tank that wanted to run an ad without being forced to divulge its major donors," which argued that the requirement was a violation of first amendment rights under the Court's Citizens United decision.
"The Trump administration is proposing a budget it says will increase defense spending by $54 billion and cut non-defense spending by the same amount. The White House is sending a topline budget proposal reflecting those figures to federal agencies on Monday afternoon, according to an Office of Management and Budget official." An unnamed OMB official said most federal agencies would face cutbacks.
Donald Trump announced in a tweet on Saturday that he would not attend the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in April. The move did not come as a surprise, another moment in his ongoing battle with the media, which he has dubbed the "enemy" of the American people and repeatedly refers to as "fake news." Multiple outlets have already cancelled their events surrounding the dinner and several are considering skipping the event outright.
Phillip Bilden, Donald Trump's nominee for Navy secretary, has decided to withdraw his nomination after he was unable to sufficiently untangle his financial commitments. Bilden follows Vincent Viola, who withdrew his nomination for Army secretary.