Leon & The Peoples Band Among Performers for Issa Foundation Fundraiser

by Howard Campbell

NEW YORK – Anyone who plays a Jamaican character with authenticity gets the seal of approval from Jamaicans. The country’s dialect has been ‘slaughtered’ by many Hollywood actors, but Leon did justice to his role as a member of Jamaica’s groundbreaking bobsleigh team in the 1993 movie, Cool Runnings.

The veteran American actor/musician has become an honorary Jamaican. From spending months on the island and endearing himself to folks in rural areas. On November 12, he and his band are scheduled to perform at a fundraiser in New York organized by the Issa Foundation.

Stephen Cat Coore and Leon
Third World’s Stephen “Cat” Coore and Leon


Third World, Pat McKay of Sirius XM and DJ Norie will also participate in the event. Its objective is raise enough money to build a children and adolescents’ health care center in Ocho Rios.

“I was connected to Paul Issa through a longtime friend, Wayne Jobson.  When I looked into Paul’s Issa Trust Foundation and their mission, I was more than happy to lend my time and talent to their charity event,” said Leon, who has previously done charity events with the Jamaica Tourist Board.

That association goes back to the early 1990s shortly after his turn as Derice Bannock in Cool Runnings helped make him a star. It was followed by solid performances in the hit movies, The Temptations and The Five Heartbeats.

Leon and his band, Leon & The Peoples, will perform at the event which takes place at SONY Music Hall in Manhattan.

The New York-born Leon first visited Jamaica in 1983. He returned after the release of Cool Runnings, a hit movie inspired by the remarkable feats of Jamaica’s bobsleigh team at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

Cool Runnings not only made Leon a star but helped him establish an enduring link with Jamaica.

“Shortly after Cool Runnings’ huge success, the JA Tourist Board assisted me in going to the most rural areas of the island (to) meet and inspire schoolchildren and let them know that anything is possible for us if we really want it!”, he recalled.

Issa Foundation Giving Back

A non-profit organization formed in 2005 by Couples Resorts, the Issa Foundation has raised funds to promote the importance of education and health as well as projects that assists  community development.

Leon’s latest film is A Day to Die which stars Bruce Willis and Kevin Dillon. He has a recurring role in the Showtime series, City On A Hill.


South Florida Caribbean News

The SFLCN.com Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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