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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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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