A.J. Cooper died Wednesday morning, reportedly from a heart attack
His aunt, Peggy Cooper Cafritz, said he collapsed at his mother’s home after experiencing chest pains and dizziness, according to the Washington Post. Cafritz said he had been ill recently. Cooper was 34.
Cooper, known as “Jay” during his television years, hosted “Teen Summit,” a talk program focusing on issues of the youth in the Black community. He was in his high school and college years while hosting.
After college, the D.C. native became active in political and social programs in the city. He became the policy director of the D.C. Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Then, in 2012, he ran for the city’s at-large council seat. Cooper looked to follow in the footsteps of his father Algernon Johnson Cooper, who in 1972 became the first Black man to be mayor of Prichard, a predominately white Alabama town.
Even though the younger Cooper did not win the seat, he continued with plans to stay active in his community.
“He loved the city, and he loved serving the people in the city, from the elderly to the young,” Cafritz said Wednesday.” Jay was just on the verge of bursting forth.”
Cooper had most recently protested the shooting of Ferguson, Missouri’s Michael Brown, and helped organize a demonstration outside the Justice Department building.