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Levitation 101: Class Is In Session with Miss Juggalette 2014

“No matter where life takes you, remember that family unity will always keep you going, jumping over every obstacle.”

–Queen Dominique, Juggalette Queen 2014

Whaddup, y’all? It’s ya girl, the Dark Carnival fortune teller Rachel Paul, here with a very special, sticky sweet Faygo treat for you all. Now, it’s been a minute, and we’ve given her plenty of time to soak up all the glory of her victory, but now I feel it is finally time to hear from our beloved sister who took the prize of all prizes at this year’s Gathering of the Juggalos, reppin for the ladies and juggalettes worldwide. Give it up for this year’s Miss Juggalette 2014: Queen Dominique from the 505!

It’s not a trick of the camera. This fly girl can actually fly.

Welcome to Levitation 101

Welcome to Levitation 101

 

When I asked this year’s crowned juggalette supreme Queen Dominique to share her message for the Juggalo Nation, she advised juggalos and juggalettes everywhere to jump over every obstacle. Her advice about jumping is very fitting, given her champion double-dutch acrobatic stunts that left the crowd too stunned to do anything but scramble to come up with some kind of response. (And soon enough, the classic juggalo three-word chant took the form of “Jump that rope! Jump that rope!” and echoed through the grounds.) But her acrobatic and athletic talents aside, the queen speaks truth when she advises us to jump over any obstacle and stay fly. After a long conversation with her, I realized her life itself is a testament backing up her message of overcoming and perseverance. The twenty-one-year-old single mother and full-time student, with a job to boot and aspirations of being a mortician and more, shared her life story with me, and I knew as soon as I heard what she had to say about her background, her life growing up in the New Mexico juggalo community, and her experience vying for and obtaining the coveted juggalette crown that it was very necessary to share her words with you all. Her short but full and rich life story speaks volumes to the courage and strength of her spirit. Dominique is an exemplary juggalette and an incredible person. This is her story. Prepare to get schooled in the art of jumping over obstacles. May I present to you Dominique’s very own course in philosophy. This is a how-to manual for those challenged by the force of gravity or held down by anything in their lives. I proudly present to you: Levitation 101.

 “If you don’t want success, you’re not ever going to get it.”

–Queen Dominique

Determination Incarnate

Determined to Fly

 


 

“There is no way you are graduating from our school.” Five years ago, a sixteen-year-old Queen Dominique sat in her principal’s office as he tried to convince her that she was never going to finish high school. The principal kept the meeting short and then proceeded to expel her. Why? Because of her affiliation with ICP and juggalo culture. Her “gang activity” was grounds for expulsion, and she was quickly escorted off the premises of her high school, cited as being a troublemaker. Nevermind the fact that she was an honor’s student at the time; this apparently held no weight. Her Insane Clown Posse t-shirt made silly things like test scores completely irrelevant.

Imagine being thrown out of high school for wearing the clothes you want to wear and for being friends with the people you love. Imagine having your backpack, notebooks, wallet, necklaces, and t-shirts confiscated every day. Imagine being suspended because you have a hatchetman tattoo. Imagine having to wear your hair in a particular way to cover up that tattoo, for fear of being sent home. And at that point, you are called a gang member. Eventually, despite your good grades and hard work ethic, you are expelled, just because of the music you listen to.

It’s fascist. It’s terrible. It’s fucked up!

But this is exactly what happened to Dominique as a young woman in Albuquerque, where the federal government’s witch hunt against juggalos began many, many years ago, when she was in her early teens. At the height of the gang-label frenzy in New Mexico, which eventually caught like wildfire and spread throughout the nation, sixteen-year-old Dominique was thrown out of school because of the music she listened to. But she was determined. She didn’t let the ignorant actions of the school administration stop her. Instead, she chose small acts of resistance, like encouraging her classmate juggalos to paint their faces with permanent marker “so it wouldn’t wash off,” parading proudly through the halls of their high school institution. “It was just some clownie stuff to piss off the teachers who profiled us,”  she laughs. And it was actions like these that led her down a path of free expression and friendship that would follow her beyond those school hallways, out the door, and well into her future–all the way to up until now, on the occasion of her coronation as Queen of the Juggalettes.

 

Witness this dangerous gang member as she partakes in terrible gang activity.

Yup. She’s a Total Gang Member.

 

Soon after her expulsion, Dominique enrolled in a different high school–one in an urban area called the “War Zone” that, according to Dominique, had “real gangs to worry about, not just juggalos, who sure as FUCK don’t deserve a gang label.” Despite the financial limitations of the War Zone school district (poor funding, lack of resources, etc.), she persevered and graduated with high honors, college credits, and an honorary Kinte cloth, which is a prestigious award bestowed for community service and superior academic performance by the Black Student Union of New Mexico. Dominique then went on to higher education and currently holds a degree in psychology. She is also a licensed bartender and is now preparing for medical school, where she plans to study mortuary science.

“Between my psychology degree, my bartending license, and biochemistry studies for mortuary science, I guess I could say, ‘Bring me your crazy, drunk, and dead people, and I’ll take care of them.’ [Laughs]. Maybe it’s where I feel most comfortable. Death doesn’t bug me. I’ve always had a deep acceptance of it as part of the cycle of life. And my goal, particularly in my study of mortuary science, is to help people no matter what and give them closure…My two-year-old son, Osiris, is named after an Egyptian god of the underworld for a reason. I’ve always had a deep connection to and acceptance of death, and if I can help people through that, then I’ll make it my life’s work.”

This is Dominique. When the school told her that she wouldn’t amount to anything in an attempt to limit her freedom of expression, she went ahead and proved them wrong many times over amid the adversity of Albuquerque’s War Zone. She jumped right over that obstacle.

Never a stranger to the violence and realities of the War Zone community, Dominique spent her formative years living there, in a culture of poverty and resultant drugs and violence. Growing up in Southwest Albuquerque, she was almost fatally stabbed at age five and recalled walking home from school with friends amid fights and turf wars. “A lot of people I grew up with are dead or in jail–but that’s New Mexico for you.” By the age of eighteen, she had lost not one but two high school sweethearts, both killed by gunfire. “At the time, I blamed myself and felt like I was cursed,” she reminisces. In her young life, one could say that Dominique witnessed things that no young lady should ever see.

But despite all the drama and trauma, she learned her lessons well–both in school and in life. “In the War Zone, we all knew each other. There was a great sense of community, and we all looked out for each other. My nana always said, ‘You mess with one bean, you get the whole burrito.’”

 

"The Whole Burrito"

The Burrito Effect in Action

 

And the great lesson of the War Zone, this spirit of unity and family amid chaos, carried over into the Queen’s life in the juggalo world. “If it wasn’t for my ninjas, I don’t know where I’d be,” she says fondly. Now, on a personal level, I can honestly say that the story of Dominique’s first Gathering is pretty much identical to my own. Years ago, she showed up alone, hardly knowing anybody, with nothing but a backpack, no money, and no ticket. But none of that mattered to her at the time. “I just remember thinking, ‘I made it! I finally made it to Shangri-la! And I no sooner got through the gate that I looked down and found a hundred-dollar bill right there at my feet. It was a miracle. That was my sign.”

Dominique speaks fondly of the ninjas who she found at her first Gathering, who took care of her, made her feel at home at their site, and fed her all week long. “I’ll never forget how the Gathering ninjas took care of me right away and accepted me as their own, with no questions. I felt like I knew them my whole life…Juggalos are the nicest, warmest people you’ll ever meet. I’m convinced that the system just can’t stand so many great people who are so much alike. So now that I’m older and have a crew of my own that spans from the 505 [New Mexico] to the 303 [Denver], I make it a point to take care of them, just like those ninjas from way back took care of me.”

Truly, this is a juggalette who understands the power of community and does everything she can to help foster that–so much that it almost cost her a chance to compete for the crown. On the morning of the Miss Juggalette pageant, she was busy cooking breakfast for the entire 505 and 303 campsite. (And apparently, her infamous green chili, a 505 favorite, is the stuff of legend.) “That morning, I kept saying, I’m not gonna miss it! I’m not gonna miss it! But I almost did. Taking care of my people, making sure they had a good breakfast, was more important to me. Plus I was SO nervous, so I stalled.”

Several folks involved with the pageant noted how Dominique came into the backstage area noticeably shaken. She was the very last contestant to sign up, by the skin of her teeth, and was definitely the most nervous backstage. However, as for ON the stage? Who knew?

 

Really, Who Knew?

Really, Who Knew?

 

And, once again, she overcame an obstacle by mustering the strength and courage to get up on stage and represent for the ladies of the scene, the 505, and the 303. She overcame her nervousness. She jumped right over any barriers that held her back, with humor and grace, just like she’s jumped over so many other obstacles in her life to become the talented, brilliant, educated, multifaceted, and beautiful young lady and devoted mother that she is today, with plenty of room to grow.

In the true spirit of community, it was her juggalette sisters that crowned her as their queen.

 

Firebreathing Queen Serenity Passes the Torch to Superfly Queen Dominique

Firebreathing Queen Serenity Passes the Torch to Superfly Queen Dominique

 

And when all the juggalos and juggalettes who were involved in the pageant huddled in for our now ritual “One Love Handshake” at the end of the festivities, the resultant picture (captured by amazing photographer Nik from MonkeysOnCrack.com) shows Dominique’s “Shine” glowing. Check her out in the bottom left corner, radiating beauty. It’s almost supernatural in a way:

 

A Radiant Beauty Indeed

Cool, right?

 

Here is a young lady who laughs in the face of adversity. Some could say that she has been through hell and back. And yet she still jumps over every obstacle. She flies and levitates with ease. She’s more than Miss Juggalette to me. Honestly, I can say that she is my hero.

 

An Inspiration to Juggalos Everywhere

An Inspiration to Juggalos and Juggalettes Everywhere

 

“I put the past behind me and focus on today,” she boldly claims. With a person like her representing juggalettes everywhere? I think it’s safe to say we can all put our past behind us, look at our lives today, and create a better tomorrow, for all our peeps, inspired by the fact that sometimes underdog girls from that 505 can defy the laws of gravity…and take flight.

 


Queen Dominique would like to send special love and shout outs to Tiffany, Pat, Dusty, Havoc, and all of the 505 and 303 juggalo and juggalette family.

Rachel Paul, who really didn’t do anything aside from writing things down, would like to thank and recognize the many talents of not only Queen Dominique but the usual suspects:

The Entire Cast of Miss Juggalette 2014

The Entire Cast of Miss Juggalette 2014

Juggalette Belly Dancers

Juggalette Belly Dancers

More Juggalette Bellydancers

More Juggalette Bellydancers

Juggalettes Who Bring That Fire in More Ways Than One

Juggalettes Who Bring That Fire in More Ways Than One

Juggalettes Who Rap

Juggalettes Who Rap

Juggalettes Who Sing

Juggalettes Who Sing

Juggalettes Who Squirt Hecklers with Faygo

Juggalettes Who Spray Faygo

Juggalettes Who Turn the Crank

Juggalettes Who Turn the Crank

Juggalettes Who Fight Breast Cancer and Win (True Story)

Juggalettes Who Fight Breast Cancer and Win (Which Is the True Story of Contestant Meesha)

Juggalettes Who Take Care of Each Other and Fix They Weaves

Juggalettes Who Take Care of Each Other and Fix They Weaves

The Juggalos Who "Clown" With Us (With They Speedos On)

The Juggalos Who “Clown” With Us (With They Speedos On)

The Queen of the Apocalypse, Triplesix

The Queen of the Apocalypse, Triplesix

And "The Million-Dollar Man," Our Proud Host and Dear Friend, K.G.

And “The Million-Dollar Man,” Our Proud Host and Dear Friend, K.G.

Long Live the Incredible Stories of the Opaque Sisterhood of the Juggalette Queens

Long Live the Incredible Stories of the Opaque Sisterhood…And Long Live the Juggalette Queens!

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    Faygoluvers Comments

  1. V_Ron

    Comment posted on Thursday, November 6th, 2014 10:07 pm GMT -5 at 10:07 pm

    Awesome article as usual, Rachel! Very positive and inspiring. I hope you’re able to do a write up for future Miss Juggalettes. And hopefully I’ll be able to make it to a gathering one of these years.

    ROOM 217 FOR LIFE

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