BY INDHIRA SUERO, Neighborhood News Bureau
ST. PETERSBURG — Originally from New Jersey, broadcaster AJ Ali has made his path in Midtown, St. Petersburg, with the radio show Strait from Da Street. With his participation in Black Power 96, he seeks to vindicate and offer support to people who once had trouble with the law.
Ali believes in the power of opportunity and thinks that this new radio station will help the African-American community of St. Pete.
What made you create Straight From Da Streets?
I was with Public Access TV for three and a half years, and we won the best show on 2005. Our show is about the personal development of the community. People have to take a personal interest in the personal development. So what I’m talking about is street, selling drugs, being involved in different types of illegal activities.
A drug dealer is a great salesman, depends on how you look at the word greed. The only problem is this is a wrong business. I got involved in a lot of negative things growing up, but at a point I made a decision to change my life, and I ran my family business for 20 years.
Stories like that would help a guy or a young lady who may be involved in the wrong business or criminal behavior.
How is Black Power 96 going to change Midtown?
It is needed in America. We need radio shows and stations that are really concerned with the people’s future. The radio station is going to help because first of all it is going to portray the truth. 96 is going to give people the truth from us, from their people.
What do you recommend to the people that are going to have a show for the first time in Black Power 96?
It’s a great opportunity. For the radio station I serve as sort of an ambassador, because I’m out every day talking to people about the radio station and how it’s needed and how this is an opportunity for them to have a career in radio.
You’re never too old to be in radio, if you can still think and communicate you’re still able. It’s a great opportunity for community development.
What are the new things that you are going to bring to the radio station?
The young entrepreneur’s mentors program is designed to help a person realize that they’re going in the wrong direction. It’s an opportunity to be around other people who have made the same mistakes and have overcome the mistake and are now being a part of the community rather than sell drugs or things that will hurt people in the community.
Indhira Suero is a reporter in the Neighborhood News Bureau at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.