Leonie Forbes was ‘excellent at all times’ | entertainment

Renowned director and playwright Basil Dawkins hopes to make the celebration of the late actress, broadcaster and producer Leonie Forbes an annual event.

Dawkins spoke with The Gleaner at the Leonie Forbes Cultural Tribute, held at the Little Theater on Monday, which brought together members of the Jamaican cultural community to honor and celebrate the life and work of the late doyenne. The reverence and appreciation of all of Forbes’ contributions to broadcast, theater and more was unmistakable. The Little Theater came alive with performances of song, dance, instrumental and poetry, each with a touch of their leadership in these areas. Although there was a slight melancholy in the air, it was clear that everyone was glad to have experienced it in some way.

For Dawkins, a member of the organizing committee, they achieved the goal they set out to come together and honor Forbes excellence.

“The idea of ​​the tribute evening was to celebrate Leonie’s existence among us and to recognize her natural ability to be excellent at all times. So a cultural concert was to be created that would show excellence in celebration of Leonie. Overall we think the goal has been broadly achieved, and perhaps not just by what we’re seeing, but based on the feedback we’ve received we’re pretty sure we’re satisfied with the variety and quality of the articles hit the mark. We are grateful that everyone involved was striving to deliver excellent pieces, because everyone was working on a voluntary basis, so it was more of a labor of love. We were very happy,” he told The Gleaner.

Elaine Wint hosted the show and at all times maintained a tone of reflection and adoration that helped guide the proceedings. The show took place in two acts. During the first act there were soulful tributes from Fae Ellington, Fabian Thomas, Tony Patel, Alwyn Scott, Grace Mcghie and Ruth Ho Shing. The performance of Unforgettable, performed by Keisha Patterson, transformed what would normally be considered an ordinary love song into a powerful reminder of how Forbes had made an impression. Rory Baugh gave an intense performance of “Music of the Night” from “Phantom of the Opera” and closed the first act.

In the second act there was a performance by Karen Harriott and Deon Silvera that brightened the atmosphere with laughter. Young Ngozi Wright also gave a strong performance of a dub poem entitled Letter to Leonie. During the performance, the Minister for Entertainment, Gender and Sport, Olivia Babsy Grange, paid tribute to the legendary actress and broadcasting pioneer. Dean Frazer performed a flawless saxophone cover of Imagine by John Lennon, and Ashe closed the show with a medley that crowned Forbes king.

It was hard to ignore the warm feeling that permeated the atmosphere as old friends and colleagues shared memories of good times. For Dawkins, he hopes they can meet like this without circumstances leading to death.

“Unfortunately, we don’t do it (get together) as often as we probably should. Inevitably, it takes someone’s departure within the community to get everyone on the same page to do something like this, and even take the time to celebrate one another. We don’t get the chance. This wasn’t just important because it was a celebration of Leonie, but really and truly, some of us came out and saw each other again after a long time,” he said.

“I hope we can do a Leonie thing that’s done annually. It is also an opportunity for [the] new to meet old. I realize there are so many agents now who don’t seem to know each other. I think it’s occasions and opportunities like this that will foster unity and bonding and I think it was a good effort from everyone who came out to mingle and get together and talk and share,” continued Dawkins away.

Forbes died at the University Hospital of the West Indies in October of that year. She was 85.

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