A.J. Cooper, once a host of BET’s “Teen Summit” and a rising star on the D.C. political scene died on Wednesday Dec. 3.
Cooper, 34, reportedly collapsed at his mother’s home shortly after complaining of dizziness and chest pains, according to his aunt, Peggy Cooper Cafritz. She says he’d been feeling unwell for the past few days.
Looking to follow in the footsteps of his father, Algernon Johnson Cooper, who became Pritchard, Alabama’s, first black mayor in 1972, A.J., known to his family as Jay, was in the running for a seat on the D.C. City Council. He began his political career in 2012 when he ran as an independent for an at-large D.C. Council seat.
It was during his high school and college years that Cooper came to national prominence as a host of BET’s popular program “Teen Summit.”
After graduating from the University of Maryland, Cooper served as the policy director for the D.C. Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. He also worked with “Freedom Farms”, an urban farming initiative that provides produce for and employs low-income D.C. residents.
“He loved the city, and he loved serving the people in the city, from the elderly to the young,” Cafritz said. “Jay was just on the verge of bursting forth.”
Recently, Cooper had been active in protesting the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, by organizing a protest outside the headquarters of the Justice Department.
“All I can say is that all of the emotions you are feeling need to be channeled into political power,” Cooper wrote in a Facebook post after news spread that a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson for Brown’s killing. “Let that burning feeling in your gut be the fuel to power a movement. Otherwise, when the smoke clears, all we will have left are tears and ashes.”
via Former BET ‘Teen Summit’ host and D.C. politician A.J. Cooper dies at 34 – Rolling Out.
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