OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Four Black Omaha men are elevating their voices on their semi-new radio program.
Alan T. Black, David Newson, James E. Hunter, and Walter Williams started their AJDW Conversation program in September 2020 through KRCO, a Christian radio station.
AJDW stands for the initials of their names from oldest to youngest.
“I had this idea of coming together all as guys. All Black men coming together, talking, and then sharing some of the lifestyles and things that we have lived,” said Newson, a professional hairstylist, singer, songwriter and musician. He’s also an ordained pastor in the Apostolic faith.
AJDW Conversation is already gaining traction locally and across the world. Currently, the program airs in six other states through KRCO and other radio stations in Europe. The program is also available on any podcast listening platform.
The group meets every Monday to record one-hour-long shows. They discuss a variety of subjects like politics, social justice issues, music, religion, marriage, and anything else in between.
“What's unique is that it's from our perspective. Not that we're right. Not that we're wrong. It's four black men giving their perspective,” said Pastor Hunter, who has roots in the Church of God in Christ. He’s worked in radio for nearly 20 years and works with a nonprofit to help prevent and reduce violence with local youth.
Each week the group discusses a new topic that’s relatable to the audience, particularly Black men.
“We talk about political things. We talk about local politics, state politics, national politics, we talk about current events, social issues, with the passing of George Floyd and the verdict. We talk about all of that,” said Hunter.
They also talk about the "R-word." Racism.
“We are going through racism. It's just at an all-time high so when we can talk together on how we feel about that process, it kind of eases the surface a little bit,” said Newson. “But the fact that we have the opportunity to do what we do in Omaha, being known as a segregated place- it shows there’s an opportunity for change, it shows an opportunity for sharing, and I think it’s important for us as a community of people.”
The show hosts provide insight from different religious perspectives as each one follows a different faith.
“This is really what religion should look like. It should look like Methodist, Cogic, Baptist, Pentecostal. Four men coming together, having values in life and respect for self,” added Newson.
Black, whom the group affectionately refers to as ‘Sir Alan’ for being the oldest in the group, says their difference of opinion is what helps make their show unique.
“We're not always going to agree, but we have respect for each other, we have love for each other, and one of the things that's so important is that — are people willing to sit down and talk and have dialogue because at this point that's where you start to get an understanding of each other,” he said.
They emphasize they don’t strictly speak on religious issues or through a religious lens. They also talk about pop culture and music.
“We talk about all kinds of things. We pay tribute to secular seniors that just passed like DMX, who recently died,” added Hunter. “We did a special tribute to him. And we found that he did a gospel song, so we played that in the background during one of our shows.”
Beyond sharing what’s going on in the world, they discuss what’s going on in their personal world. They have a segment called ‘What’s on top’ in which the hosts discuss what’s on top of their minds or hearts.
The show is also creating a brotherhood among the four men.
Walters, who’s nicknamed ‘Walter bowtie Williams’ for being a stylist and wearing a bowtie, says being the youngest in the group provides him with three new mentors.
“It's a change for me to let young men know that you can sit at the table that can be ten, fifteen years older and know that they've got a story and may have walked some walks that you've walked, and you can get some dialogue, have friendship and at the same time bounce some things off them so you don't make the same mistakes in life,” said Walters.
By starting this program, the group hopes this will start a trend for others to share what’s in their hearts.
“It should hopefully plant the seed to begin the growth of having conversations, having dialogue, and being willing to sit at the table, put aside any all differences or misconceptions of one another and just talk and just share what you have been through, what are your concerns, what are your fears, because we all have them,” said Black. “If we keep it bottled up, it has the capacity and it has shown it has the capacity to basically implode and it can create even more damage going down the road. And how can that damage impact not only one generation but it can impact and take a second generation off track as well.”
They also hope to inspire other Black men to use the power of their voice.
“We can talk about issues and we have something to say,” said Hunter. “The politician that told the basketball player to shut up and dribble. No. Black man, you have a voice, and you can talk, and you can share what you think and express how you feel about what's going on. We're not going to shut up and preach or shut up and do hair or shut up and do fashion, or shut up and write a book, or preach. We're going to continue to talk, we're not going to shut up, we're going to express how we feel as a Black man in the United States of America.”