Boots Riley

LOS ANGELES – FEB 23: Riley at the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards on the Beach on February 23, 2019 in Santa Monica, CA kathclick/

Birth Name: Raymond Lawrence Riley

Place of Birth: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

Date of Birth: April 1, 1971

Ethnicity: African-American, one quarter Ashkenazi Jewish (maternal grandmother), small amounts of German, English, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Scottish, distant Akan Ashanti Ghanaian and Wampanoag Native American

Boots Riley is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, rapper, and communist activist. He is the founder of hip-hop group The Coup, and is the lead singer of rap rock supergroup Street Sweeper Social Club, with Tom Morello. He directed and wrote the film Sorry to Bother You.

Boots is the son of Anitra and Walter Riley, who is a civil rights attorney and activist. His father was born in North Carolina, and is of mostly African-American descent. His mother was born in New York City in 1944, to a father of mostly African-American descent, and a German Jewish refugee mother. He grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and then Oakland, California. He has four children, including one with singer and musician Gabby La La.

Boots’ paternal grandfather was Willie Lee Riley (the son of John L. Riley and Molly/Mary McMannen). Willie was born in North Carolina. John was the son of Tom Riley. Mary was the daughter of Henry McMannen and Margaret Holeman. Boots’ great-great-great-grandfather, Nathan Turrentine McMannen, was the son of slaveowner Samuel Turrentine, and of a black slave woman. Samuel was of English, Scottish, and Scots-Irish/Northern Irish descent.

Boots’ paternal grandmother was Flora Bell Atkins (the daughter of Charlie Atkins and Cora Johnson). Flora was born in North Carolina. Charlie was the son of Thomas Atkins and Elizabeth. Cora was the daughter of Charles Johnson and Mary Barbee.

Boots’ maternal grandfather was Lawrence Edward Patterson (the son of Jesse Franklin Patterson and Marguerite Elsie Darrow). Lawrence was born in Montour Falls, Schuyler County, New York. Jesse was the son of Joseph Patterson, who was born in Pennsylvania, and of Sarah Denning, who was born in New York. Boots’ great-great-grandmother Sarah was the daughter of William Denning and Adelia/Delia J. Sharp, who was the daughter of Burlin Sharp/Sharpp and Elizabeth. Adelia is listed as “Mulatto” on most U.S. Censuses, but is listed as “Indian” on the 1865 New York Census and as “White” on the 1900 U.S. Census. On the 1880 U.S. Census, Adelia stated that her father was born in New York and her mother was born in Pennsylvania, on the 1900 U.S. Census, she stated that her mother was born in Germany, and on the 1910 U.S. Census, she stated that both of her parents were born in Pennsylvania. Her father Burlin is listed as “White” on the 1830 U.S. Census and on his death record. Her mother is listed as “Mulatto” on the 1855 New York Census and as “White” on the 1860 and 1870 U.S. Censuses, and the 1865 New York Census.

Boots’ great-grandmother Marguerite was the daughter of William Darrow and Cecelia Lafette/Lapette Dorsey. Boots’ great-great-grandmother Sarah Denning, and Lapette, were first cousins, once removed, making Boots’ maternal great-grandparents, second cousins, once removed. Lapette’s mother, Mary Strong Denning, was Sarah’s cousin. William was the son of Charles W. Darrow. Charles’ sister, Mary Alison Darrow, was Lapette’s maternal grandmother, making William and Lapette first cousins, once removed.

Through both of her parents, Marguerite was a descendant of Kofi/Coffe/Cuffe Slocum, a slave of Akan Ashanti Ghanian descent, who was manumitted in the 1740s, and of Ruth Moses, a Wampanoag Native American, who was born in Massachusetts. Their son, Paul Cuffee, Boots’ fifth great-uncle, was an abolitionist who helped establish a colony of free Blacks in Sierra Leone.

Boots’ maternal grandmother was Anita Luise Pinner (the daughter of Oskar/Oscar David Pinner and Jenny Perlmann). Anita was born in Königsberg, Lower Franconia, Bavaria, Germany, to a Jewish family. Anita and her parents left Germany because of the Nazis, and settled in Oakland, California. Oskar was born in Berlin, the son of Adolf/Adolph Pinner, who was born in Birnbaum, Poznań, Poznań County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland, and of Klara/Clara Herrnstadt/Hernstadt, who was born in Waldenburg, Wałbrzych County, Poland. Jenny was born in Jurburg, Kaunas, Kauno miesto savivaldybė, Kaunas County, Lithuania, then part of the German Empire, the daughter of Louis Perlmann and Rebecca Rosenkrantz/Rosencrantz.


Genealogies of Boots’ paternal grandparents, Willie Lee Riley and Flora Bell Atkins –

Story of Boots’ paternal sixth great-grandfather, Kofi/Cuffe Slocum –

A descendant of Nathan McMannen who says she is a DNA match to Samuel Turrentine’s descendants –

Genealogies of Boots’ mother –

2 Responses

  1. Mr. Postman says:

    One of his children is with singer and musician Gabby LaLa

  2. Mr. Postman says:

    Link to Paul Cuffee who is listed on Ethnicelebs.

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