Cheryl Pepsii Riley

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Cheryl Pepsii Riley
Cheryl Bridget Riley[1]

(1968-10-18) October 18, 1968 (age 51)[1]

Brooklyn, New York, U.S.[2]
EducationClara Barton High School
  • Singer–songwriter
  • actress
Years active1986–present
David Jones
(m. 1985; div. 2000)
Mike Grace
(m. 2003; div. 2009)
Musical career
InstrumentsDrums, tambourine and the piano.
Associated acts

Cheryl Bridget "Pepsii" Riley (born October 18, 1961[1] or 1968[citation needed]) (sources differ) is an American singer and actress. Riley is best known for her music during the late 1980s through the early 1990s, most notable; 1988's R&B ballad "Thanks for My Child".[4][5][2][6] Riley also starred in Tyler Perry's stage plays including; Madea's Class Reunion (2003) and Why Did I Get Married? (2006).

Life and career[edit]

Early life and career[edit]

Born Cheryl Bridget Riley in Brooklyn, Riley was the first of two children born to James Madison Riley[1] and Lucia Viola Riley.[1] Riley attended Clara Barton High School.[1] After high school, Riley worked as a nurse for handicapped children before beginning her singing career. Riley began her music career as a lead singer in the band Stargaze, who released the single "You Can't Have It" in 1982.[1]

In November 1988, Riley topped the US R&B chart and hit the Top 40 on the pop chart at No. 32 with the ballad, "Thanks for My Child," a song written by Full Force.[2] The song peaked at No. 75 in the UK Singles Chart in January 1989.[7] The genesis of "Thanks for My Child" began with Full Force member Bowlegged Lou's experience with the complications of his wife's first pregnancy.[2] The title track single to her debut LP Me, Myself and I made it to number 18 on the R&B charts in early 1989. Another single, "Every Little Thing About You," peaked at number 55 on the R&B charts later that year.

Her second LP, Chapters, was issued and yielded the singles "How Can You Hurt The One You Love" and a cover of Aretha Franklin's 1968 hit "Ain't No Way". Her third album All That! was released by Reprise, and featured the singles "Gimme" and "Guess I'm In Love."

Later career[edit]

After a hiatus from the entertainment industry, Riley re-emerged in the late 1990s by appearing on the songs "I Love It" and "Look Around" on The Beatnuts album A Musical Massacre. Riley also starred in a number of gospel plays for best-selling playwright Tyler Perry, including Madea's Class Reunion, Madea Goes to Jail, Why Did I Get Married?, Laugh to Keep from Crying, Madea's Big Happy Family and the most recent, A Madea Christmas. Riley also appeared in the film versions of Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Madea's Big Happy Family. She is also starred in Tyler Perry's Madea Gets a Job (2012) and Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned (2014).

Following her appearance on a number of tracks on the Diary of a Mad Black Woman soundtrack in 2005, the following year Riley released Let Me Be Me, her first album in fourteen years. In 2015 she released a new solo album entitled Still Believe.

Personal life[edit]

Riley married twice and has one child. In 1985, she married fellow Stargaze bandmate David Jones, but they divorced in 2000 after 15 years of marriage.[1] In 2003, Riley married Chicago native Mike Grace, and together raised his son John Grace.[1] In a recent[when?] interview with Lenny Green, Riley mentioned that she and Grace had divorced in 2011.



  • 1988: Me, Myself & I (#128 Billboard 200, No. 9 R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)
  • 1991: Chapters (#62 R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)
  • 1993: All That!
  • 2006: Let Me Be Me
  • 2015: Still Believe


  • "Thanks for My Child" (1988)
  • "My Myself & I" (1988)
  • "Every Little Thing About You" (1988)
  • "How Can You Hurt The One You Love" (1991)
  • "Ain't No Way" (1991)
  • "Gimme" (1993)
  • "Guess I'm in Love" (1993)
  • "Good Lovin'" (1995)
  • "Let Me Love You Boy" (Snatch featuring Cheryl Pepsii Riley) (2000)
  • "He's a Hurricane" (James Day & U-Nam feat. Cheryl Pepsii Riley) (2018)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j BET's Unsung
  2. ^ a b c d e Vladimir Bogdanov (2014). All Music Guide to Soul: The Definitive Guide to R&B and Soul. f Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9780879307448. Retrieved January 13, 2018 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ "JET's Top 20 Albums". JET Magazine/Johnson Publishing Company. December 5, 1988. Retrieved January 13, 2018 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Company, Johnson Publishing (September 8, 2008). "Jet" – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Greg Tate (April 1, 1996). "Revolutions". Vibe Magazine. Retrieved January 13, 2018 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ "People Are Talking About..." JET Magazine/Johnson Publishing Company. March 13, 1989. Retrieved January 13, 2018 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 463. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.