Boots Riley: F Bombs Not Cool in Norfolk

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boots-180.jpgAfter dropping some variation of the F word at a live performance in Virginia with Galactic recently, Boots Riley, front man for Oakland’s hip-hop/funk group The Coup, got slapped with abusive language charges from local police.

Riley, who Mother Jones profiled in our November/December 2007 issue, claimed the charges were racially motivated, part of a backlash from a recent Afr’Am Festival in Norfolk, at which gospel and R&B performances allegedly generated noise complaints.

The incident is not the first like it for Boots:

The openly communist, activist/performer has had run-ins with the law in the past.

As any fan knows, his politics are rarely separate from his music. Just prior to the incident, Riley interviewed Mumia Abu-Jamal about social justice and the Supreme Court.

But as Boots, the son of a labor organizer, openly told MoJo, “I’m advocating that people change the world that is around them. And that means direct conflict.”

Here’s a good example of Boots’ dancier side:

And, his more political side, talking about intellectual property:

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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