Leon On Me: A Brief History of Black Cinema’s Charo

“Run a web search on the phrase “American Dream” sometime. You’ll get nine million hits, and 95% of them are for real estate. Three percent are for strippers.”

courtesy: davidruffinbbfaq.ourfamily.com/leon.jpg

Look at that smug motherfucker up there. Just look at him. In the time it has taken you to be mesmerized by his overt smarminess, that dude has just banged your sister. And your mom. In front of you. ‘Cause that’s just the type of guy he is. In every role he has every played, he has either screwed someone OR screwed them over. If you’re not familiar with ’90s Black cinema, or you’ve never had to endure the agony of what was once called the African Heritage Movie Network (sponsored by AT&T, ’cause Black people love runnin’ up a phone bill!), allow me to introduce you to the D-level powerhouse known, simply, as Leon.

Born Leon Preston Robinson IV, his first claim to fame was as “black dude who’s about to get banged by Madonna” in the controversial “Like A Prayer” video (controversial because of the Catholic iconography, not because she was banging a black dude). He went on to pretty much fill out the role of “black henchman” whenever Sam Jackson was busy (this was before Pulp Fiction, of course). If it involved snortin’ coke, womanizing, or just plain sweatin’ a lot, Leon was your man. You may even remember him from the movie that everybody loved, yet nobody ever talks about anymore: Cool Runnings (whatever happened to Doug E. Doug?).

In the mid-nineties, Leon landed a choice role in Robert Townsend’s The Five Heartbeats, the story of a fictional Motown-era singing group. Really showing his range, this role prepared him for his next: a role in The Temptations, a TV movie about a real Motown-era singing group. He followed this up as the title character in Little Richard, a TV movie about…well, you get the picture. After all those singing roles, he decided “Fuck it, I’m releasing an album.” So, he formed Leon and The Peoples, a reggae soul band, starring him and a bunch of people who don’t have the luxury of having their names mentioned in the band’s moniker. This marked the point at which Leon The Actor and Every Role Leon Has Ever Played became one being. This is the reason I’m educating you, so that you’ll be ready when he comes to steal your coke and bang your mom. He’ll do it. I saw it in one of his movies, and he apparently thinks he can really do all the shit he does in movies!

Leon can also be found traveling the country with Black stage shows. You know the kind – they always have names like All That and a Bag of Jesus or You Ain’t Goin’ To Heaven, So You Sho’ Nuff Goin’ To Hell. It would be best to avoid these at all costs. First off, there’s no telling what he might do. Secondly, this is the kinda shit that made Tyler Perry rich, and we just can’t have that happening again.

Take this knowledge and use it wisely. He may seem like a poor man’s Wesley Snipes, but he is not to be trusted, nor should you look him directly in the eye. Wait…where are your pants? Didn’t I just finish telling you not to look him in the eye?! Damn, he moves fast…