Leon, The Chi, actor

Leon Brings Hollywood Swagger To ‘The Chi,’ Shares How ‘Seriously’ He Takes His Roles

Leon is bringing his incomparable acting abilities to Season 6, Part Two, of Lena Waithe's "The Chi."

Renowned actor Leon Preston Robinson, widely known as just Leon, brings his iconic acting prowess to Season 6, Part Two of Lena Waithe’s The Chi as Alonzo, a charming, street-savvy attorney with old ties to Alicia (Lynn Whitfield).

The Five Heartbeats star appeared on The Culture Shift to tease the action-packed new season and share his delight in acting alongside his peers in Black Hollywood on the Showtime series.

“It was a joy to work with Lynn,” Leon tells BLACK ENTERPRISE. “I think Lynn is a top-notch actress. So whenever I get a chance to get in the ring with top-notch people, it’s always a lot of fun for both of us.”

Season 6, Part 2 of The Chi, which premiered Friday, May 10, sees Emmett (Jacob Latimore) and Kiesha’s (Birgundi Baker) blissful blended union get tested by his dangerous partnership with Douda (Curtiss Cook), who is dealing with the fallout of Q’s murder and its effect on the shifting loyalty of his inner circle.

Victor’s (Luke James) tangled past impacts his new role as a city councilman, while newlyweds Jada (Yolonda Ross) and Darnell (Rolando Boyce) fear for their son Emmett following his desperate, life-threatening move. Rob (Iman Shumpert) and Tiff’s (Hannaha Hall) cannabis business and Jake’s (Michael V. Epps) apparel line takes off, while Papa (Shamon Brown Jr.) is still struggling with the senseless loss of his beloved father.

Whitfield’s character, Alicia, Rob’s mother, stays true to her role as the intimidating, old-money matriarch who will spare no expense to get what she wants. With the help of Alonzo, Alicia continues her plotting and scheming.

Leon teased Alonzo’s other ties. With no one being safe and everyone getting tested, viewers are in for a wild ride on the sixth season’s shocking last eight episodes.

“Alonzo is an attorney,” Leon says. “He’s the type of attorney that a lot of big-time gangsters like. He can get you off and get you less than what you should be getting. He also has a lot of ties to people in the show, which you’d have to find out by watching this show.”

Working on the star-studded cast alongside Whitfield, Kadeem Hardison, Jill Marie Jones, and more was a joy for Leon.

“I think anytime I see my peers, especially my peers of my color, working on a top-notch show with great production and it’s out there and people are seeing it and we’re able to do good work, I’m always happy,” he says. “Even if I’m not on the show if I was seeing that, I’m seeing my people doing good work and having success. It’s something that I enjoy. And, of course, I love being a part of it. So it’s just fun all the way around.”

Leon has earned recognition throughout his three-decade career playing various memorable roles, from his debut in Madonna’s iconic music video “Like a Prayer” to the lead role in Disney’s blockbuster hit Cool Runnings. The New York City native was the hero in New Line’s urban sports drama Above the Rim, a ruthless villain in the action hit Cliffhanger, and owned his most love-hate role, Russell, in the 1995 hit, Waiting to Exhale.

He starred in the NAACP Best Picture Award winning, Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored, and HBO’s first original series, Oz. Leon received much of his praise taking on fan favorite roles in Robert Townsend’s The Five Heartbeats (voted the #1 African American film by AOL), the Emmy-winning miniseries The Temptations as lead singer David Ruffin, and the NBC authorized biography of Little Richard which earned him an NAACP nomination for Best Actor.

His heartthrob person also garnered him a spot on AOL’s sexiest Black actors of all time list.

uyyyLeon is celebrated for his skillful ability to bring a character to life. From taking on biographical roles of real-life people to fictional characters, Leon remains true to his art form and ability to bring a writer’s work to life.

“From the first day I acted till now, I mean, I take it seriously,” Leon says. “My job as an actor is to breathe life into a writer’s words and his characters. And so I take that character seriously. It’s always about the story. And then it’s what part do I play in the story.”

With him acting alongside so much rising talent on The Chi, Leon offered some mentorship to the young cast members and shared some of his stories from his 30-plus years of acting.

Press play below to hear more about Leon’s experience on The Chi and his experiences from acting onscreen to making music with his band, Leon and the Peoples.