Skip to Content Skip to Navigation
Join the email list!

Roger Ridley: Bio

Roger Ridley - Street Performer

To All Of Roger’s Friends;

We, the family appreciate greatly the contributions and love that we have been given and shown. I know that anyone that knew him knew of his heart, and that he would give his last for the sake of helping someone.
Our father and husband will be and is greatly missed. May God continue to bless you all and keep your hearts pure. Tell your loved ones that you love them and make sure they hear it, for we are not promised tomorrow.

From Roger’s wife and children.

Milton Lee “Roger” Ridley Jr. also known as “Buh-Buh”, “Ajax” and “Big Man” was born April 30th 1948, to the late Milton Lee Ridley and Lessie White Ridley. Our beloved Roger was called home from labor to reward on November 16, 2005.

He was preceded in death by his sister Ayre L. Owens.

He leaves to cherish his memory his loving wife of thirty-one years, Ernestine Frazier Ridley; his children, Antoinette Ridley, James Reynold Ridley and Lakisha Ridley; his first grandchild, Chaz Elijah Duncan, who he nicknamed “The Boom”; his sisters and brothers, Julia B. Miller (Doug), Dorothy Pitman Hughes, Mary Cunningham, Mildred Dent (Tommy Lee), Alice Sidibe, Jimmy Ridley and Tommy Lee Ridley Cherry (Queenie); many nieces and nephews, cousins, in-laws and a host of friends.

Roger was truly loved by all who knew him, especially, his family. He was also a man with a great gift. Sharing that gift as a singer, he touched the hearts of many who never knew him, but couldn’t help recognizing the joyful, loving and generous spirit he was.

Born in Charles Junction, Georgia, he lived most of his adult life in New York City, where he sang with his sisters at many church concerts and club performances across the east. Once his children were grown, he committed full time to his music. He was one of the first members of the arts program, Music Under N.Y., where he sang in the subway for delighted commuters. Eventually, Roger’s music took him across the United States and abroad, performing on stages in Switzerland, Italy and Japan.

He was featured in a long running stage show that opened at the New York, New York Hotel in Las Vegas. He was living in Las Vegas with his family at the time of his death. Most recently, he sang and performed as a main character in the upcoming animated film series, “Kiddo”.

Whether singing in the New York City subway, on the Venice Promenade in California or Lugano, Switzerland, Roger was equally comfortable among any of God’s people. One of his gifts to us all was that in his presence, we all felt that we were special.

Roger was special, indeed. He will be greatly missed.

Roger Ridley was a working musician who made his home in Las Vegas, Nevada. Known for his singing, guitar playing and songwriting, Roger’s style is best described as his very own, “Musical Gumbo” with influences from R&B and soul legends such as Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. Roger created a style that was totally unique to his own musical personality.

With his easy-going manner and awesome presence, Roger accumulated a host of friends while performing at some of New York’s most popular clubs such as the Baby Grand and the Cotton Club. He also opened for the likes of Millie Jackson and Clarence Carter, opportunities that paved the way for him to perform at the US Open in New York City and at the wedding of Douglas Kennedy, son of the former US Attorney Bobby Kennedy.

Never one to be limited to one ambition or genre, Roger appeared on several stage productions including, “Blues for a Gospel Queen” and “No Place To Be Somebody” in New York City, as well as the Kenneth Feld Production, “Madhattan”, in Las Vegas. He recorded the title song to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Star Light Express”, jingles for the Nickelodeon television station, the NBA and a blues song for the Disney Channel.

His dedication to stage performance allowed him to travel all over the world, including places such as Milano and Bologna, Italy and Lugano, Switzerland where he was a part of the “Blues to Bach” concert and Japan where he performed in the “Liberty on The Street” Japan tour. He continued to perform until his untimely demise on Wednesday November 16, 2005.