BlackGaySlay continues with the incomparable Leon Lopez; actor, director, musician, and proud Scouser. With talent to spare and eyes that penetrate, Leon first appeared on the national stage in 1998 as Jerome Johnson in the Channel 4 soap opera Brookside. Since, he has demonstrated versatility as an artist that enables him to cross genres, from television to stage to screen and radio. Leon credits his mother who from an early age pushed him artistically to do what he wanted to do .
Leon studied Performing Arts at Liverpool Arts Centre and Music Performance at Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. As part of the male vocal harmony group 11/7 Leon won numerous awards including a MOBO nomination for best unsigned act. He released his debut album Moving ON in 2010.
Leon set up BBP, (Brown Boy Productions) in 2012 and has used filmmaking to talk about issues he feels are neglected by mainstream media. His film ‘SOFT LAD’, premiered at The East End Film festival in 2015. His documentary ‘Let’s Talk About Gay Sex And Drugs’, premiered at BFI Flare festival in 2016, and his short film, ‘Crossroad’ was shortlisted for the Iris Prize 2016 and selected for distribution by Peccadillo as part of their ‘Boys On Film’ series.
Leon’s most recent film ‘Almost Saw The Sunshine’, is about violence towards Trans women of colour.
While fans saw Leon back on the small screen as Linford Short in BBC’s EastEnders, Leon acting versatility shines in London’s West End with appearances at the Donmar Warehouse opposite Elena Roger; The Royal Court Theatre, in the role of “Deity” in Tarell Alvin McCraney ‘s “Wig Out!” and the role of “Michael” in Jonathan Larson‘s Tick, Tick… BOOM! at The Duchess Theatre among others.
Leon the Musician writes music for films and works on his second studio album while Leon the Director continues to learn and hone his craft, recently graduating with a Masters in filmmaking at The University of East London #With Distinction.
For Leon the fierce artist and the BlackGaySlayer it’s always been about the journey shaped by a Jamaican mother and solid northern roots. He explains, I’ve always called myself black. Still at times having a Spanish father means to black people I’m not black and to white people I’m not white. At the same time I understand for some there are lots of privileges (real and perceived) when it comes to being mixed race. Suffice to say throughout my life I’ve constantly dealt with people’s assumptions with comments like:
‘You’re Black but you’re OK …. You’re Scouse but you’re OK. …. You’re Gay but you’re OK.’
OK? No! I think Not!
There’s no point fighting others’ assumptions. I respond with love and my work.