Tommy Lee, legally known as Leroy Russell, opened up to patrons at Sumfest, held at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre in Montego Bay, expressing how his prison time was a pivotal period of transformation in his life. Released earlier this year from Kingston’s Horizon Remand Centre after serving a majority of his three-year sentence for a firearms offense, he looks back at this period with a sense of personal growth.
Addressing the Sumfest audience, Tommy Lee shared, “I hold no regrets for the time I spent incarcerated. It provided me the opportunity to introspect, reconnect with my family, and develop on a personal level. At one point, I had multiple relationships, but I’ve since reassessed and changed that.”
His honest reflections about his prison sentence resonated with the Sumfest crowd. He opened up about overcoming a serious drug addiction and expressed his joy at performing at the festival for the first time since 2019.
“I struggled significantly with drug addiction, which included pills. However, I’ve successfully overcome this battle, and I’m grateful for this period of my life. It seems like divine intervention,” he added.
Tommy Lee went on to thank law enforcement officers for their understanding and support during his transformative journey. “I would like to acknowledge the police officers who gave me the opportunity to perform and showed their belief that young people can indeed change. Many youths desire to change their lives, but they often need guidance and support.”
At the Remand Centre, he had a meaningful conversation with incarcerated DJ Vybz Kartel, which prompted him to urge the younger generation to stay on the right side of the law.
“While in prison, our recreational time, often our only chance to feel the sun, was spent conversing about life and our children. Kartel shared how his kids were infants when he was sent to prison, and now they have children of their own. It’s a hard life inside, so I urge the youth: do everything in your power to avoid it,” advised Tommy Lee to the Sumfest attendees.
He also expressed appreciation for the prison warders at Horizon Remand Centre.
“I want to commend the warders at Horizon Prison. They genuinely believe in people’s ability to change and give them a chance to prove it,” he stated.
Lee’s arrest on December 14, 2020, followed a vehicle stop by the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Specialised Operations. A 9mm Glock pistol was found in his possession during the subsequent search.
After imparting these life lessons to the Sumfest patrons, Tommy Lee delivered an emotional rendition of his 2019 single ‘Blessings’. His 30-minute set, which included popular hits like ‘Under Vibes’, ‘Psycho’, and ‘Buss A Blank’, left the Sumfest crowd on a high note as the event concluded shortly before 7 am.