ANYTIME a Jamaican gig comes his way, Leon is up for it. The newest, a fund-raiser for the Issa Foundation, was something the veteran American actor-singer couldn’t turn down.
He and his band, Leon & The Peoples, will perform with Third World and DJ Norie at Sony Music Hall in Manhattan on November 12. They are going to help raise funds to help with constructing a kid’s health-care centre in Ocho Rios.
Leon told the Jamaica Observer that he got involved with the project through Wayne Jobson who introduced him to Paul Issa, principal of the Issa Foundation.
“A project like this implies the world to me and my band. Being at the purpose where I can’t just give back but support our next generation of youth makes what I achieve this far more rewarding,” he said.
The New York-born Leon, who found international fame portraying a member of Jamaica’s bobsleigh team within the 1993 hit movie Cool Runnings, first visited Jamaica in 1983. He has lived here for prolonged periods and supported charity causes throughout the country for 30 years.
“The Jamaica Tourist Board assisted me in going to essentially the most rural areas of the island to satisfy and encourage schoolchildren and allow them to know that anything is feasible for us if we actually need it!” he exclaimed.
The Issa Foundation is a non-profit organisation founded in 2005. It has participated in several educational, health and empowerment projects.
Leon’s breakthrough role got here within the 1991 movie The Five Heartbeats. Cool Runnings, based on the feats of Jamaica’s bobsleigh team to the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada, enhanced his status.
That was followed by a much-lauded portrayal of singer David Ruffin within the 1998 television movie The Temptations, and as Little Richard within the 2000 movie of the identical name.
Leon has toured as a singer with Beres Hammond, and acted as MC for the Reggae Sunsplash and Sting International events in the US.