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Rhymes for a reason

Fully Fullwood, whose second annual charity show will take place Sunday in Huntington Beach, was moved by poverty he saw overseas.

May 29, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Renowned reggae bassist Fully Fullwood has organized "Reggae for a Reason," a show to benefit and bring awareness to youth homelessness Sunday at Don the Beachcomber.
Renowned reggae bassist Fully Fullwood has organized… (DON LEACH, HB Independent )

When Fully Fullwood ventured to Brazil, Indonesia and Haiti, he went as a musician, not a humanitarian. But between gigs, he toured the surrounding neighborhoods and witnessed a darker side of life — people squatting on trash-laden street corners and eating out of gutters.

"When I saw children, dirty, living like that, in my heart I just thought, 'Oh my gosh,'" he said. "It got to me — I felt really bad."

Born Astley George Fullwood in Jamaica, the jazz, blues and reggae artist is no stranger to poverty, but these experiences, which by his own admission were "horrible," moved something within him. They inspired Fullwood to action, and "Reggae for a Reason" was born.

Organized under the banner of "Jammin' to End Youth Homelessness," the annual fundraiser will take place between 3 and 7 p.m. Sunday at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach. Currently in its second year, it provides the community with an opportunity to come forward with clothes, tinned food and donations to benefit children and families under duress.

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Fullwood and his bandmates — one of whom he grew up with and others he has known from his Soul Syndicate days — contribute part of the $5 admission fee to nonprofits, including Love in the Mirror, Stand Up For Kids, Colette's Children's Home, American Family Housing and Project Hope School Foundation.

They also play weekly "Live Reggae Sundays" to raise money and awareness about this initiative, which is further supported by people who host bake sales and raffles to aid Orange County's roughly 20,000 homeless citizens.

"I cannot cure the world, but I wanted to see what I can do to help," Fullwood said. "With music, which is my means, I was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time."

Fullwood, who revealed only that he is in his early 60s, has lived in San Clemente since 1981. Before and since, he has traveled, and then some. Argentina, Germany, parts of Africa, most of Europe — he counted them all off.

"I've been around the world maybe 10 or more times," he said, as if that fact were no big deal. "Some places — I can't even pronounce their names."

Over the years, he has recorded with luminaries such as Bob Marley and the Wailers, Peter Tosh, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs and Max Romeo.

For "Reggae for a Reason," he will create a different kind of partnership — with 10-year-old Jonas Corona.

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