Boots Riley’s “Sorry To Bother You” is a dark but deeply funny satire that delivers much more than the trailer promised. It is an interesting take on many of the social and political tropes that make it resonate in 2018. However even more interesting than the movie itself may be the filmmaker who brought it to life. Here are five things you should know about Riley.
He is a Founding Member of the Influential Group, The Coup
In 1991 Riley helped found The Coup, a collective a socially conscious musicians in Oakland. Riley was the lead vocalist, and his history with activism drove the direction of they lyrics and the message for the group. The idea for The Coup to create hip hop music that contributed to a greater movement came from Riley’s family history.
His father was started a chapter of the NAACP in Durham, North Carolina at a young age, and as an adult in Oakland he was a member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). He told NPR that as a member of a local theater group and at the same time was helping organize farm workers to form a union. “[I] saw the opportunity to fuse art and movement building.” That heavily influenced his music, and he cited the film work of Spike Lee as a reason he could envision taking that principle into his own filmmaking.