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Ali Siddiq: It’s Bigger Than These Bars – Getting Arrested & Staying Fit


[ Helicopter blades whirring ] [ Sirens wailing ] Man:In pursuit of suspectwest on Hall Road.[ Sirens wailing ] I’m Ali Siddiq. I was arrested at 19 years old
for drug trafficking. [ Police radio chatter ] Man, they caught me
with five bricks, “kilos” for those who’ve
never been in the streets. It’s not comfortable
back here! ♪♪ After doing 6 years
on a 15-year sentence, when you get out, all people think you’re going
to do is more crime. Now, after 20 years,
I’m back to do my stand-up in front of currently
incarcerated folks to let the world know that you can do
whatever you put your mind to, because it’s bigger
than these bars. ♪♪ [ All cheering,
chanting indistinctly ] ♪♪ ♪♪ First of all,
thank y’all for being here. Now, it’s not like
y’all had a choice or nothing. [ Laughter ] What you was going to do, sit
in your cell or come to a show? You know, it’s free. You already paid the cost
to be here. This — Don’t — [ Laughter ] Man, this is my 20th year of being out
of the penitentiary. Man, I got arrested
20 years ago. [ Cheers and applause ] I actually came from exactly
where you sitting now to where I’m standing now
in 20 years. It took me that long with patience. I went to jail not too long ago.
It’s crazy. I’ve been out 20 years and went to jail on the way
to take my son to school. You can get caught
with 4 ounces of marijuana, it’s a ticket, Class B.
I read it. Verbatim. Read every sentence
of that shit I know it. It is a ticket,
ticket, Class B, ticket. So, I get pulled over, and the man said,
“Can you tell me why is a strong aroma
of marijuana coming from your truck?”
And I said — I’m being very cavalier
’cause I know the law. I said, “Um, I don’t know
about strong, but… [ Laughter ] But it’s right there in that
little ashtray right there.” And he’s like, “Can you step
out of the car?” I’m like, “No.
Can you write me a ticket so I can go about my way?
I’m taking my son to school.” Man, you know, this man,
he done call so many people over half a blunt, it look like
they done busted El Chapo. [ Laughter ] So, boom, I’m in the back.
The man taking me to jail. I get to jail,
and I’m very, very cavalier, because I’m the spokesperson
for a bonding company. Yeah. Yeah. I got
a bonding company on deck. And the commercial says, “Midtown Bail Bond. If you got to jail,
we’ll get you out.” So how the hell
they gon’ leave me in there? I’m the spokesperson. [ Laughter ] Your goddamn spokesperson
can’t be walking through jail. “Ain’t you the spokesperson?” “Nope. They fired me.”
It’s crazy. Clearly, I’m not going
to be here long at all. And the officer said,
“In order to get a bond, you got to see the judge.” I said, “Well, shit,
where the judge at? Let’s get it popping.” He said, “I’m-a see
about you seeing a judge, but right now, we need to put
you in this holding cell.” And when I’m about
to walk in the holding cell, the man told me,
“Hey, let me get them shoes.” I say, “What you need
my shoes for?” He said, “‘Cause we can’t
have you killing yourself while you in this cell.”
I said, “Brother, let me explain something to you. Y’all busted me
for a half a blunt. You should be embarrassed. And I am embarrassed
for somebody who got busted the first time
with 5 kilos of coke. Now you got me here
on a goddamn half a blunt? I’m ashamed of me and you.” [ Laughter ] ♪♪ Hey. What’s happening? -So, really.
-Can I get up here? You know, out of respect,
where you want me to sit? I don’t want to be
on your pillow. I mean, this is hers. -Whose bunk?
-Help yourself. Jail boos, I don’t want
to be disrespectful. [ Laughter ] Has anybody in here
ever been to prison? I’ve been.
Went TDC plus treatment. What grabbed me really
about your act tonight was the fact that you said,
even after 20 years, you found yourself
back in that same situation. Well, after 20-plus years, I found myself
in the same situation, which is right here. Um, I graduated
from that program, went to college, got a degree,
went back and worked at the same facility
in which I was an inmate, so… -Get out of Dodge.
-And once again, here I am. Like I used to tell my clients, it’s a matter
of timing and circumstances, basically, is what it is, timing, circumstances,
and your choices. How you feel your body
holding up here? This is not a — It’s not a lot.
It’s not a lot of cushion. I feel every crook,
every cranny. [ Laughter ] ♪♪ Man, when I was in that cell, my body has not recovered from that one night in jail. Everything hurt. Back hurt. And I’m a pretty fit athlete,
you know, ’cause when — You know, me, I try to stay fit. You know, I play in the over-40
basketball league, you know? I was MVP 2 years in a row. Yeah, 41 and 42. [ Laughter ] I got cocky. I took my MVP game
down to the gym, the real gym
where young boys play, ’cause when you in the over-40
league, you know, it’s easy. It’s easy. You quick.
You out there doing your thing. And people over 40 got respect. When somebody hit a shot on you,
they just run down the court, and they look at you.
“That’s it. Boy, gotcha.” That’s it. Young boys are disrespectful. They disrespectful at that gym.
So, I’m down. I’m at the gym, and I got my situation down.
You know what I’m saying? My defense is tight
on this young boy. I’m right here with it. Man, this little young boy
crossed me over so fast that I —
Let me tell you something. I know y’all know
what a crossover is. I know you know what a crossover
is, when somebody go this way and then cut back this way
real fast with the ball. The man crossed me over so fast that I just went
to the water fountain. [ Laughter ] I had to ask other people.
I said, “Did you see him? Did you see him?” The dude say, um,
“Man, you just got AI’d.” I said, “AI’d?
What the hell is AI’d?” This dude say, “Hey, man, remember when Allen Iverson
crossed over Jordan?” I said, “Yeah.”
He said, “Yeah. That’s AI’d.” I said, “I’d be damned
you gon’ cross me over and give me a nickname out here.
I be goddamned.” And, see, the young boy
disrespectful, man. He disrespectful.
I’m running down the court. He’s next to me.
“Yeah, boy. Yeah. You just got AI’d, boy.” So, people don’t remember the
very next play, very next play. Jordan came down,
hit a long-range jumper in Allen Iverson’s face,
very next play. I say, “Yeah,
that’s what I’m going to do. That’s what I’m going to do.
Ball up. Ball up. Ball up. Ball up.” Ran up on the young boy. Unh.
Long-range jumper. Shot the ball.
Hit the jumper. Back went out. [ Laughter ] Man, I’m going out
the damn gym in a stretcher. [ Laughter ] “Wait. Oh –”
When they about to wheel me out, I say, “Wait. Wait.
Wait. Wait. Wait. My son’s in the daycare.
My son’s in the daycare.” So they had to go to the daycare
and find my son. And my son — I can’t help them ’cause
I’m on the stretcher already. So the paramedics just
picking up random black kids, showing them to me.
“This your baby right here? This your — What about this one?
This yours? This yours right here?”
And I know it took 20 minutes, ’cause my son ain’t going
to let nobody just grab him. This boy go running,
sliding, fighting them. So they finally get my son,
finally get my son, put my son on my chest. Now I’m getting rolled out
of the gym like a goddamn NFL player. [ Laughter ] You know, when you go out a gym on a stretcher… …you know you can never
go back to that gym again? Do you know that? Six months later, man,
I walked in that gym, and the dude is like,
“Ooh, there goes stretcher man.” I said, “I’m not no goddamn
stretcher man.” [ Laughter ] ♪♪

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