Former Student Boots Riley's Film Tells Freakish Story of Labor, Inequality

Thursday, July 12, 2018

FADER -- Nearly three decades ago, some miles west of Alena, Boots attended film school at San Francisco State University, the same school where his father, Walter Riley, studied and helped organize the 1968 strike that created the first ethnic studies program in the nation.

In 1991, while still a student, Boots formed hip-hop band The Coup with Eric “E Roc” Davis, later incorporating turntable queen Pam The Funkstress who passed away late last year. Boots dropped out of school when the group landed a record deal soon after forming. The Coup went on to release six albums, two EPs and tour the world with signature lyrics that relate life’s daily ups-and-downs to the systemic forces at work. All the while, Boots lived the manifestos from his songs, actively organizing and advocating for working class issues like wealth distribution and stronger unions in his Oakland homebase and beyond.