When asked what he likes about DTSP, Ralph said “I love DTSP because of the diversity and culture. From the food, to the murals, to the party scene. It is a beautiful and fun place with the feeling of togetherness that we need right now.”
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: “As a father of 7, I am inspired by providing a solid foundation for my 4 boys and 3 girls. I know how it feels to grow up trying to find your footing on shaky ground and my goal is to change that narrative for my children. My plan is to create a business for each one of my children by the time they graduate high school. My oldest is just now going into the 6th grade and we already own 5 businesses so I feel like we are in good shape. More importantly, we started a non-profit foundation together, “Majority Now”, the mission is to bring people together regardless of race or background, and grow together as we practice habits that promote a healthy and wealthy living. Love for all who have love for all.”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in DTSP, and what do you love there?
A: “Definitely Rawkstar Cafe, I love the family atmosphere there. They play my music on the inside and outside speakers, I am very grateful for that. Every single time I dine there I meet and laugh with someone new, it never fails.”
Q: How long have you lived or worked in DTSP?
A: “In 2006 St. Petersburg became my 2nd home. I spent some time in Davenport, Florida, and moved back to St. Petersburg in July of 2013 for good. DTSP has shown me love and embraced me the whole time.”
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in DTSP?
A: “Helena, a great muralist who was visiting from Texas, who I met at Rawkstar Cafe of course. It’s crazy because it turns out that we were both born at the same hospital in Michigan, and we both tell our stories through our different creative art forms. I interviewed her for my podcast “Di-Verse-Ify”, the episode is called “Helena Paints”, you can view it on YouTube, it’s special.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: “Japan, I spent some time going to school there in my younger years and it truly changed my life, I fed a deer that was just walking down the sidewalk right next to me, that’s unbelievable! I was going back to Japan for this year’s Olympics and to spend time with my host brother Shingo but the world had other plans.”
Q: What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
A: “Unfortunately, the first movie I seen in the theater was “Alive.” I have no idea why my aunt would take a 7 year old to see that movie but she did. To this day, every time I go to the movie theater I say, “I hope there’s no plane crash” and “I hope nobody gets eaten”. Thanks a lot Aunt Iris.”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “Spread love, God created us all as royalty, so let’s love each other and respect each other as such.”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “I want to sit court side at the NBA Finals with my dad and big brother. It doesn’t even matter which teams are playing. We are big sports fans in our family.”
Q: What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: “Bob Marley, Sade, and Earth Wind & Fire, all have legendary music that promotes togetherness, progress, and a good time.”
Q: What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about DTSP?
A: “Grassroots: the setup and decor of the establishment is perfect. I can relax outside, or inside on the couch, or at the bar, or upstairs in the matrix style chairs they have, or even out on the balcony. There is no way that you can’t find comfort in that place. Just give me my Ginger Beer and let me chill.”
Q: Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in DTSP would you have lunch?
A: “Shaquille O’Neal, I would love to pick his brain on his relentless championship mindset and find out how he’s still getting countless endorsements til this day, this dude is in every commercial. He’s a big guy so we would have to eat lunch somewhere that we can pig out, so I would say Red Mesa Mercado: best mexican food in DTSP.”
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about DTSP?
A: “First Friday, I can walk around with a big slice of pizza, hang with my friends, meet beautiful women, while listening to great music. Something I can count on every month, I love the vibe.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
A: “In 5 years I would have performed at every location in DTSP that allows live music and at least one of my businesses will be in the Fortune 500. In 10 years, our non-profit “Majority Now” will have helped many lives in St. Petersburg and beyond and I will be continuing to create innovative ideas, as well as investing into the great minds of the younger generations.”
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: “I buy just as many coloring books for myself as I do for my kids. It’s very calming and I think up my best ideas & songs while coloring.”
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: “Love, Dedication, Purpose.”
Q: Who would you like to see nominated for this project, The Faces of DTSP?
A: “The artist, Steffortlessly. She is a business owner, expert hair stylist, event planner and poet. Truly a Jane-of-all-trades. She is definitely someone who is adding value to the overall vibrancy of DTSP.”
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A: “Salma Hayek, no matter how the movie turns out, we will definitely be looking good!!!”
Q: If you had a full time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?
Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A: “Like I said before, I have 7 children, so I could use a Nanny. That would free up more date night time for my lady and I to explore and enjoy all that DTSP has to offer.”
The Faces of Downtown St. Pete was created to showcase the diverse community we live in & the wonderful people that make it so special. If you would like to nominate someone interesting for this project, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.