Panel 1


JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana

A documentary film by Leslie Cunningham

Logline: Brown-skin showgirls, whites-only audiences, and the brave African-American showman who left an extraordinary legacy despite the insurmountable odds against him and his dreams. Read more.


M.I., A Different Kind of Girl

A documentary film by Leslie Cunningham, Co-Produced by Alana Jones

Logline: A male impersonator struggles to find acceptance from her families and the male-dominated drag community. . Read more.


Panel 3

About Leslie




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Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Leslie is an artist, journalist, documentary filmmaker and the creator of TRIBES Entertainment, a boutique online multimedia company known for telling stories from the front-line of urban music, arts and culture. A graduate of the documentary arts program at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University in Durham, NC, Leslie’s collection of engaging doc films and videos have screened on public television, online and at film festivals in the U.S. and internationally.

Leslie released her first feature-length documentary film, M.I., A Different Kind of Girl in 2012. M.I. debuted at the Hayti Heritage Film Festival in March 2012, followed by a three-city Pride Festival tour through Philadelphia, St. Louis, and ending in Raleigh at the Triangle Black Pride Festival. M.I. also was chosen for The North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and Atlanta’s Out On Film in 2012, Gender Reel Film Festival (2014) and Massimadi, the LGBT Film Festival of Africa and its Diasporas in 2016.

Feeding her hunger for producing daring and entertaining narratives that represent a diversity of subjects and communities, Leslie also produced a number of popular shows for the local public television station The People’s Channel, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Her show, TRIBES TV, covered arts and community events in the Triangle area including: Triangle Black Pride Shelly B, The Queen of NC HIp Hop, and Domestic Violence: Healing Through Spoken Word. TRIBES TV was a public broadcasting hit and spread Leslie’s reputation as a local media institution to citizens around the Triangle.

Leslie is currently working on the documentary project that has become her life’s work, JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana, a feature film which honors her family’s Black and Cuban stage show and the legacy of her grandfather, Leon Claxton, one of the twentieth century’s most successful traveling show producers. Part of a larger multimedia project called  The Harlem in Havana Project, the documentary film aims to to educate audiences and revive Harlem in Havana’s rich history. 
Panel 4


Don’t wait for the film! See the Brown Skin Showgirls!

  Step Right Up, Folks! I’ve got big news! In an effort to document the rich history of my grandfather Leon Claxton’s Black and Cuban stage show, Harlem in Havana,  I’m creating a collection of black and white photography books called Brown Skin Showgirls. And,  the Cuban Edition, Vol II, is now available on Amazon!  Brown Skin Showgirls, … Continue reading Don’t wait for the film! See the Brown Skin Showgirls!