Josie is a student at Riverdale High School and the lead singer, as well as the guitarist of her band Josie and the Pussycats. She is the daughter of Myles and Sierra McCoy, who is the mayor or Riverdale. Her father whose a man of music, gave her the name Josephine, naming Josie after the late singer Josephine Baker. Because of this, she often struggles to gain his approval while also trying to impress him. Unlike her father, Josie's mother, Sierra, is far more encouraging of her talents, especially where her band and music are concerned. They both enforce "black excellence", especially when the choice of the band members are concerned.
Josie grew up in Riverdale. She was primarily raised by her mother, as her father was often away on business. In Josie's early years, her mother became the mayor of Riverdale, and consequently, she and her mother had to endure the hate mail and slanderous messages people were sending to them. Sometime prior to her introduction in the series, she formed a musical group that would later become known as Josie and the Pussycats. Josie, along with the other two members Valerie and Melody, spent their time practicing in the stock room at Power Records where they worked. One day, Josie came to rehearsal with a bag of cheap cat ears from the Halloween store. With her goals in sight, she plans on making it big; winning the Rockland County's Battle of the Bands the prior year was only the beginning.
As Josie, Valerie, and Melody rehearsed for their upcoming performance, they were interrupted by Archie Andrews, who was interested in writing for the group. However, Josie swiftly declined his offer, explaining that the Pussycats were building a brand for themselves, creating a look and telling a story in the process. She planned to continue telling their story through the songs they write. She made her stance on the topic clear, telling Archie that it was never going to happen. That night, Josie and the Pussycats performed a cover of "All Through the Night" during the back-to-school semi-formal, at Cheryl Blossom's behest.
As a favor to Cheryl, Josie agreed to assist Archie with his music. The Pussycats would be performing at the Taste of Riverdale, so they would be rehearsing every night that week in preparation. She invited Archie to quietly sit in on their rehearsals, in hopes that he might learn something. The night of their first rehearsal, she was inclined to ask what it is that Archie expected to achieve. He just wanted to write for them. Josie questioned if he thought that he was qualified enough to write for the Pussycats and divas of color. She reminded him that they didn't live in the big city, and although people's minds were opening up there were still people out there who are very close-minded, such as those who sent her mother hate mail following her victory as Mayor.
They were called the Pussycats because they had to claw their way into the same rooms that someone like Archie could just walk into, so she refused to believe that he could write her experience, as he couldn't possibly relate. However, her feelings towards his abilities may have shifted once he displayed a minor amount of his songwriting capabilities. During the Taste of Riverdale, Josie and the Pussycats took the stage, and effortlessly performed "All For Me".
Josie was amused by Archie's failed audition for the 75th annual Variety Show, in which the pressure became too much for Archie, and he choked.
Josie's diva tendencies were at an all-time high during the Pussycats rehearsal for the variety show, where she accused both Valerie and Melody of failing to secure their parts. She informed her fellow Pussycats that they are to always perform at 150%, regardless of where they are performing, whether it be Madison Square Garden or Aces Bowling Alley. This led to a massive fight between her and Valerie, which ultimately ended in Valerie leaving the group, as Josie gave Val a choice between her and the Pussycats or Archie.
Josie approached her mother with the dilemma involving Valerie's exit from the Pussycats, and that they couldn't just replace her as she wrote their songs. However, Sierra informed Josie that she was the only one that was irreplaceable, everyone else was disposable as far as Josie's mother was concerned. Her mother explained that a new sound could have been good for the Pussycats, as Josie knows how much her father hated Pop music, she was then cut off as she attempted to explain that the Pussycats weren't Pop. Josie's father was missing two concerts to be at her upcoming performance, so both Josie and her mother would hate to disappoint him. Sierra suggested that she quickly find a new member, someone skinny and beautiful, but not more skinny and beautiful than her, and Josie's mother also reminded her about their branding, that being women of color.
The next day at school, Josie and Melody's search for a new Pussycat would soon come to an end, as they were joined by Veronica, who wanted a source to channel her aggression. The three of them then proceeded to strut down the hallway in front of everyone, including Archie and Valerie. During their first rehearsal without Valerie, a problem arose as Veronica was unfocused, which Josie called her on. She wondered what problem a rich girl like Veronica could really have to go through, seeing as Josie saw her problem as the top priority since her father was missing Jazz fest to see her perform. Veronica felt bad that Josie had daddy issues, but she should be grateful that she could at least be in the same room as her father because Veronica didn't have that luxury, having not seen her dad in three months, after she realized that Veronica had it far worse, Josie apologized.
That night, Josie attended a dinner proposal at Hermione Lodge's home, which was being hosted by Fred Andrews. At the dinner, she informed her father that Valerie quit the Pussycats, and that their new member was Veronica, who she claimed was really talented. Following the dinner proposal, Josie met up with Veronica at Pop's shoppe, where they two of them shared sob stories, for Josie, no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't impress her father. Veronica's sob story was the discovery that her mother was in a relationship with Fred Andrews, which Josie didn't approve of, but she suggested that there may be another side of the story that's worth hearing.
The night of the Variety Show had finally come, Josie was approached by Valerie, who she informed that her spot had already been filled, despite the fact that Valerie was no longer performing with Archie. After thinking it over for a moment, Josie allowed Valerie back into the Pussycats, saying "I suppose there's always room for one more kitty in my litter-box." The two of them made up, but under a new arrangement where Val would be allowed to sing as well. Moments later, the Pussycats took the stage and put on a wonderful performance, which everyone seemed to enjoy, but her father. He left halfway through the Pussycats performance, and while Josie put on a brave face for the crowd, it left her in tears afterward, as she cried her eyes out in the bathroom, while her mother comforted her.
That night, she accompanied Veronica, Kevin, and Reggie to a nightclub called the Roving Eye, where they danced the night away. Upon tiring themselves out, the four of them found a booth to cool down in, Josie told Veronica to finish her drink, as she practically left her body on the floor, something that Veronica wished she could actually do at times. Veronica explained that the lawyers and police took everything from them when her father was arrested, and despite her mother telling her that no one could ever take her name, that's exactly what Hermione did like it was nothing.
The club manager then returned with Veronica's credit card, he claimed it had been reported stolen, and that he was supposed to call the police, Josie explained to him that he was more than welcome to do that, but then she would call her mother, Sierra McCoy, the mayor of Riverdale.
In the days leading up to the 75th Anniversary Jubilee, Josie was approached by Archie, who insisted that she take a look at his song, to which she did, and she was fairly impressed, commenting that Archie was getting better with every song. Having previously been told that Archie would be performing with the Pussycats at the Jubilee, he requested that they play his song during the event. Unfortunately for Archie, while his song was good, Josie had to deny his request because her mother had already approved "Astronaut". She understood that Archie's song was about his friends, who had been through hell and back, but the Jubilee was for the entire town.
In addition to her duties as a Pussycats, Josie was the newest recruit of the River Vixens. She was excited to both work on her moves and be a team player, as long as she's in the front, which was Cheryl's position.
A couple days later, with Cheryl and Melody at her side, Josie confronted Betty at Pop's during Retro Night to find out why she posted all over social media that the Pussycats would be performing a free concert at the diner. Betty explained that had she asked Josie to perform, she would've said no, so instead, she decided to force Josie's hand into performing. If Josie's mother even hears that she stepped foot in the diner, she'd be in a lot of trouble. In spite of that, Josie cared about the shoppe, and Betty knew this to be true. Josie explained that even if she wanted to help, they were one Pussycat down because Valerie had a norovirus. Luckily, Cheryl was there to fill in, commenting that if Josie can be a Vixen, then she can be a Pussycat. Josie loved Pop Tate's cheese fries, Melody noted. So, she had as much reason to want the shoppe open as anyone else. With all in agreement, the Pussycats stood on top of the roof of Pop's diner and performed Milkshake for the crowd below.
That night, Josie, Valerie, and Melody, attended the party in Nick's hotel room, along with Veronica, Archie, Betty, Cheryl, and Reggie. After having a few drinks, Nick recommended they kick the party up with some Jingle Jangle that he scored from Reggie. The Pussycats did not hesitate to partake in the night's drug fueled escapades. High off the Jingle Jangle, Val and Mel danced behind the bar with Nick, while Josie and Reggie made out on the sofa. Unfortunately, their high was blown after an argument between Betty and Veronica erupted within the hotel room, which ended with Betty leaving early after she made claims of Veronica being a bad person and how she was only their friend due to circumstances
The next day, after a night of wild partying, the Pussycats performed Out Tonight at the SoDale Gala Opening, which was being hosted by Veronica's family. They took to the stage, and gave a wonderful performance before the crowd. However, it was during their performance that they noticed Nick headed into the back with Cheryl, who could barely walk on her own. Concerned for her well-being, the Pussycats left the stage in search of Nick and Cheryl. They discovered Nick, in one of the bedrooms, getting undressed, as he prepared to rape Cheryl, who was barely conscious. Fortunately, the Pussycats arrived in time to save her. They pulled Nick away from Cheryl, and like a pack of wild animals, savagely attacked him. As Veronica, Melody, and Valerie made sure that Nick suffered for his actions, Josie checked on Cheryl to ensure that she was unharmed.
After the open house, Josie headed back to the Pembrooke with Cheryl, Veronica, Archie. They were joined by Betty soon thereafter. In Veronica's bedroom, Archie asked where Nick was in that moment, though Cheryl instructed him to put his cape away because the Pussycats had already saved her. Cheryl then announced that she would be pressing charges because she wanted Nick to be held accountable for his actions, for him to pay and suffer for what he tried to do to her. Cheryl began to sob, and so Josie and Veronica held her close, attempting to provide comfort for Cheryl in her time of need.
After Mrs. Cooper learned of the drug fueled party that was hosted by Nick, in his Five Seasons hotel room, Josie and her friends, along with their parents, were called over to the Cooper house, where they all could be appropriately punished for their inappropriate actions. During the gathering, Reggie admitted that he acquired his drugs from a dealer on the Southside, who he suspected of being a Southside serpent. While they admittedly shouldn't have taken the Jingle Jangle, Veronica pointed out that Nick asked for it, and later pressured them into taking it. Furthermore, he attacked Cheryl. If anyone should be under interrogation, they believed it to be him. However, as Sheriff Keller explained, prosecuting Nick would be difficult given that they were all unreliable witnesses due to the fact that they were high, as Jingle Jangle stayed in one's system for up to three days. Unfortunately, it had only been one day since the open house, where Josie and Veronica discovered Nick with Cheryl, which would raise a credibility issue in court. Josie's mother was appalled to learn that she too had participated in taking Jingle Jangle despite knowing how her father struggled with addiction. They abruptly left after her mother announced that bringing the Southside under control was her number one priority as Mayor.
The next day, at her mother's demand, Josie, Veronica, Reggie, Kevin, Archie, and Betty were forced into picking up trash at Pickens Park as part of their community service. While her friends worked to clean the litter filled park, Josie toyed with her phone, forcing Reggie to confront her on her lack of contribution. He sarcastically remarked that while she may be like Beyonce most days, she was no better than the rest of them on that day, as they were all sentenced to cleaning duty. "I think your biceps can handle it, Mantle", Josie retorted. Veronica then interrupted, asking if she could borrow Reggie for a moment, to which Josie replied "please, take him".
Josie was at the school music room rehearsing a cover song called "Spooky", when the school's janitor, Mr. Svenson opened the door, scaring her. He was about to lock up, and wanted to check if she's going to be okay. Josie assured him that she'd slip out the side door when she finished, just as usual. Mr. Svenson agreed to that, as long as Principle Weatherbee never found out. After she continued rehearsing for a little longer, she left the school and headed home. Upon reaching the Five Seasons hotel, the McCoy's new place of residence, Josie was met by Sierra who had been waiting for her. Josie was reprimanded for staying out too late, as Sierra explained that they'd moved out of their home because of the Black Hood. With the letter that the Black Hood had addressed to the town of Riverdale, Sierra had become more cautious. Josie didn't see the problem with walking the streets alone and didn't feel it was necessary for a bodyguard. She wasn't Whitney, Josie retorted, but Sierra thought otherwise. She then set a curfew for Josie, she was to return home before dark from now on. Reluctant, Josie complied to her mother's wishes.
At school, the next morning, Josie walked beside Cheryl as she told her about how the Black Hood has her mother on edge, who then has Josie on edge. Josie couldn't handle stress, as it affected her vocals too, causing her to lose her voice. On top of that, she felt guilty about going behind the Pussycats' backs, working on songs alone, rather than working on songs with them. However, Cheryl assured Josie that she understood why she felt guilty, as the Black Hood was going after sinners. She was allowed to feel guilty, but only up to a certain point. Cheryl revealed that she gave her song "Milkshake" to a music producer, to which he insisted that Josie come in alone for studio time. Josie was ecstatic to hear the news. She then opened up her locker to find a teddy bear on the top shelf, with a note tied to it, as Cheryl commented "OMG, another note from your secret admirer!", but Josie wasn't pleased to see yet another note, making it the third gift this week. She needed to get a new lock. Teasing Josie, Cheryl wondered who this "mystery bae" could be. Maybe it's the Black Hood, he loves writing notes, Cheryl joked. Josie didn't think it was funny.
In the music room, Josie was rehearsing a song, when Chuck appeared by the doorway. While he was amazed by her voice, Josie grew irritable by his mere presence, asking in an irritated tone if she could help him. Chuck attempted to ask her out on a date, but given his past behavior, Josie was quick to decline. However, she did take time out of rehearsing to ask if he was responsible for the gifts that she had been receiving in her locker. "Well, I can be", he answered. Unfortunately for Chuck, Josie didn't date due to all her time being focused on music. However, if she were to date, Josie explained that it wouldn't be a "chauvinist, misogynistic, harasser of women", such as himself.
Later in biology class, Josie informed Cheryl of Chuck's newfound affection towards her. Cheryl wasn't too pleased by the news that Josie came bearing to her, but Josie assured Cheryl that she declined, she wasn't insane. Cheryl was pleased to hear Josie's response, also reminding her they both had a date at the recording studio. However, Josie was unable to make it, choosing instead to head to the girl's locker room to get some steam, as her throat was acting up. Cheryl wasn't pleased by what Josie had to say to her, they needed to practice. Josie snapped at Cheryl, due to frustration, didn't know who was more controlling, her or her mother. Understanding where Josie's frustration was coming from, Cheryl backed off, showing gratitude towards Josie, instead, for saving her from 'Nick St. Creature'— a debt that she would never be able to repay back. Nevertheless, she was able to offer her humble skills to make her career blossom, but was happy to take a step back if she was feeling overwhelmed by it.
After her steam session, she was confronted by Melody and Valerie in the locker room. Valerie and Melodie claimed that they received a letter in their lockers that said Josie was ditching them for a solo career. Valerie walked closer expressing her anger; they were sisters, and Josie clawed them in the back. Josie tried to explain that it wasn't black-or-white, she had an opportunity and decided to take it. They concluded that Josie wanted to try as a solo diva, because she had neglected to inform them and sneaked around their backs working on songs. They then announced that Josie was now on her own, before Valerie walked out. "Pride cometh before the fall, Josie," Melody added before following Valerie.
As Josie was exiting the building, she ran into Chuck, whose abrupt appearance frightened her. Josie then appeared relieved to see that it was him, so much so that she asked him for a ride home. Chuck was happy to oblige, though he wanted to make one stop first, that stop being at Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe, where he and Josie had milkshakes in a booth and discussed the nature of their outing. Josie insisted that they weren't on a date. Admittedly, Chuck didn't have the best track record with women, but he had changed by going to church with his father. He had even started taking art classes as he one day sought to draw comics or kids books, though Josie had a difficult time believing that he had changed. Just then, Pop Tate approached their booth, confirming Chuck's claims of change when he commented on Chuck's recent attendance at church. Josie then asked if he had planned for Pop Tate to interject as the timing of it was near perfect. However, Chuck stated that it was merely a coincidence. In an attempt to further convince Josie that he was putting forth an effort to better himself, he asked her to dance in the middle of Pop's as a song came on the jukebox. The two of them took to the dance floor, where they danced together until being interrupted by Josie's enraged mother, Mayor McCoy, who had repeatedly called her, and Sheriff Keller. Chuck apologized for not having her home, though Mayor McCoy wasn't interested in anything he had to say, telling Chuck that she didn't want him within ten feet of Josie before dragging Josie out of the diner.
Once home, Sierra reprimanded Josie for acting out with all that is going on. Josie retorted that she wasn't acting out, but was, in fact, living her life. There are people in the town with hate in their hearts, Josie should know this, as she read all the letters her mother received. And now, with the Black Hood emboldening them, it escalated to a point where she was now receiving death threats. Shocked by this revelation, Josie widened her eyes in fear. Sierra recalls the harsh words they use; they threaten to slit her throat, or cut her heart out. Not only that, but in the most recent letter she received, Josie was mentioned. This seemed to wake Josie up, but clearly not enough, as when Sheriff Keller asked Josie if she'd received any letters or packages that posed a threat, Josie replied that she hadn't, failing to mention that she'd been receiving disturbing messages from a secret admirer.
At school, the next day, Josie updated Cheryl with recent developments about her mother. After comforting Josie, Cheryl then brought up the subject of Chuck, she couldn't believe Josie went on a date with him. While Josie tried explaining to Cheryl that Chuck was trying to change for the better, Cheryl was not convinced; taking a few art classes does not a saint make. Even if she thought he'd changed for the better, she still failed to inform the Sheriff about Chuck low-key stalking her. Entering the music room, they noticed yet another gift from the secret admirer that placed on top of a stool. Josie opened up the scroll to find a drawing of her with a message written on top, "If I can't have you, no one can". There’s one more thing too: A box with a heart inside. Storming out of the music room, Cheryl immediately confronted Chuck in the library. Though Chuck adamantly denied any involvement, Cheryl, who was in a particularly nasty mood, accused him of pretending to have been reformed. As far as she was concerned, Chuck was still the same person who perceived women as objects to possess and torture. If the Black Hood wasn't a middle-aged Caucasian man by Cheryl's account, then Chuck would be a prime suspect in her eyes. However, before Chuck could even get the chance to fully plead his innocence, Mr. Svenson, the school's janitor, stepped in, during which time Josie and Cheryl confirmed that it was Chuck who was sending threats and disturbing messages. Hearing this, Mr. Svenson escorted Chuck to Mr. Weatherbee's office.
At Five Seasons, Sheriff Keller talked to Josie and Sierra, and informed them that Chuck would be steering clear of her from here on out. Sierra was glad that they'd finally caught the miscreant that was behind those disturbing messages. Sheriff Keller thought otherwise, they questioned Chuck and checked his locker but no evidence was found. Sierra insisted that he keeps looking, if her daughter claimed it's him, then it's him. Later on, in a dream sequence of Josie's, she was back at the music room rehearsing a song, when the Black Hood approached her slowly from behind, turned her chair around and slit her throat. She woke up gasping for air as she held her neck firmly. Her mother rushed in and held her daughter as she tried to get her daughter to respond.
Later that night, Josie and Cheryl sat in a booth at Pop's, where Josie drank tea to sooth her throat. After getting off the phone with the Black Hood, Pop Tate announced that they were all sinners who failed his test, and that the reckoning was upon them.
At school, Josie and Cheryl stumbled onto Archie and Veronica kissing each other in the student lounge. Cheryl instructed the hands-on couple to get a room as she and Josie continued on their way.
While dressed in nothing but towels in the ladies locker room, Cheryl commented on the tension knots in Josie's back, which she had the perfect solution for with her lavender essential oil. As Cheryl rubbed the oil onto Josie's back, Mr. Svenson entered the locker room, unaware that the girls were still inside. He averted his eyes and apologized for the intrusion. Though Josie insisted that it wasn't a big deal. However, Cheryl on the other hand was much more upset, demanding that he get out of the locker room. She even accused Mr. Svenson of being a peeping tom, before suggesting that he be fired and investigated. Cheryl then attempted to continue massaging the oil onto Josie's back, but Josie pulled away.
A couple days later, in a booth at Pop's, Josie informed Cheryl that she would be performing at a car dealership, which Cheryl remarked was barley a step above amateur porn. Reggie had texted her that his father was willing to pay $5,000 for her to perform five songs, so long as he got to escort her. Cheryl then intentionally knocked over her milkshake after she looked over to Jughead's father, FP, who had just been released from prison and was working at Pop's as a busboy. Cheryl demanded that he clean it up, the same way he cleaned up Jason's blood. Not only did FP agreed to clean up the mess, he volunteered to get her a milkshake, free of charge.
In the days leading up to Christmas, Josie Archie, Betty, Reggie, Cheryl, Veronica, and Jughead attended the Secret Santa gift exchange that Kevin had arranged. On the day of the Secret Santa, they all gathered in the student lounge at school, where the exchange took place. It was Veronica's turn, and Josie was tasked with purchasing her a gift. Veronica opened her present from Josie, which awkwardly enough was a gift certificate for a couples massage. Unfortunately, upon her purchasing of the certificate, Archie and Veronica were still together. Hoping to recover from her fumble, Josie suggested that Veronica use the certificate to take someone other than Archie, such as Betty or her mother. Luckily, Betty was the last exchange of the evening. Based on the wrapping of her present, Betty instantly knew that it was Archie that picked her name. Betty unwrapped the gift to find and old read-a-long record that she and Archie used to listen to when they were younger, entitled "The Swiss Family Robinson". Archie informed her that he and his father found it while they were cleaning out the garage. Josie then ran over to give Midge a hug as she and Moose surprised them.
Josie is a beautiful young lady with rich warm mahogany brown skin, dark defiant brown eyes, and a trademark of bouncy thick curls. She's naturally very slender, and flaunts her body shape confidently, often dressing like a celebrity. Her clothes are similar to rock star inspired styles and she's often seen, sporting leather jackets along with her obvious Pussycat ears.
Josie is both zealous and talented. She is the lead singer as well as the guitarist for Josie and the Pussycats. She thrives to exceed and be the best, especially with both parents watching over her shoulders at every turn. Her mother encouraging her to succeed and to embrace herself as a powerful and successful woman of color, while her father on the other hand, shows very little interest in her musical aspirations, looking to it as nothing more than "pop music" and child's play. Because of this, she tries even harder to impress him and gain his approval.
Josie is also a very loving and caring person to the people who she loves and cares about. At times she's not perfect, as when she gets frustrated, she tends to take it out on others. As to the time when her father was in town, she ended up taking her anger out on Valerie, resulting in Valerie leaving the band temporarily. However, Josie can also be a very soft and caring person to the people who she likes. As to when she heard about Archies father getting shot, she came by to show her support along with her girls.
With the emergence of the Black Hood, both Josie and her mother have been on edge. The lingering feeling that the killer could strike at any time has led them both to becoming extremely paranoid, more so Josie, who has been having anxiety nightmares and brief moments of panic. Because of this, Josie and her mother moved to the Five Seasons for their own protection.
Whilst Chuck and Josie may not have come in close contact, Chuck took a liking to her. When he entered the music room, he was amazed by her voice. However, Josie didn't return back the warm greetings as she knew his past with women and would never date a "chauvinist, misogynistic, harasser of woman", such as himself. Late at night, as Josie was leaving school, she came across Chuck whose presence shook her as it was dark in the hallways. She allowed him to give her a ride home, but not before they stopped at Pop's. Even though Josie insisted that they weren't on a date, they did bond more than they ever had before. Chuck claimed that he'd changed for the better, and even though Pop Tate and Josie started believing this, his past still showed through as Josie's mother wasn't happy to find them together, who then threatened him to stay away from her daughter before dragging her out of the diner. At school, when Josie received a disturbing message from a mysterious admirer, automatically thinking this was Chuck's doing, she confronted him at the library, resulting in him getting escorted to the principal's office.