The Homeless Juggalos of Oklahoma

Say what you want about Insane Clown Posse and their army of Juggalo followers. It’s not just about being a fan; it’s a calling. This is from an article entitled “‘Til the Clowns Come Home” from

Passing Oaklawn Cemetery, on our way to Mazzio’s, Michelle made her request: “Mitch, can you take off your hat?” she asked in her sunburnt Okie accent. “My daughter’s buried back there.”

Between muffled mouthfuls of pizza, Michelle and her friend Nitro spoke candidly of their lives and place within the “family.” Michelle has been on the street for 16 years, and for the past 8 months Nitro has called an underpass near downtown Tulsa home. The friends met at a local food bank, Iron Gate, when Michelle ran up to Nitro and nearly tackled him with a hug. Her loving assault was initiated by Nitro’s tattoo. Inked in bold letters on his throat is the word “JUGGALO.”

Juggalos and Juggalettes (female Juggalos) are fans of horror-core rappers Insane Clown Posse. They are a closely-aligned network of fanatics who follow the teachings of the Dark Carnival, spray each other with Faygo soda, cry out group chants (Whoop! Whoop!), and display hand signs (the W.C., or wicked clown).

Their musical subculture is the only one large enough to cast a shadow on Jerry Garcia’s dancing bears. Juggaloism is also, arguably, the most ridiculed and despised movement in pop-culture history. To TV’s Workaholics, Juggalos are “walking, talking diarrhea people.” To bloggers, they are fodder for derision and clickbait. The FBI considers them a gore-obsessed, axe-wielding “hybrid gang.”

For a large number of Oklahoma’s homeless, though, Juggalos are just what Nitro calls them: “family.”

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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