Driven by a passion for storytelling, Leslie Cunningham is an artist, writer, filmmaker, and owner of TRIBES Entertainment, a boutique digital media company known for telling stories from the frontline of urban music, arts and culture.
Leslie created TRIBES Magazine in 2004 as artists across the Triangle area of North Carolina were calling out for a voice. Her popular show TRIBES TV covered North Carolina arts and community events and aired on public television stations, including Durham Community Media and The People’s Channel in Chapel Hill, NC. A public broadcasting hit, TRIBES TV spread Leslie’s reputation as a local media institution to citizens around the Triangle.
Leslie graduated from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University with a Certificate in Documentary Arts. Her collection of engaging documentary film have screened on public television, online and at film festivals in the U.S. and internationally. Leslie’s debut feature film documentary, M.I., A Different Kind of Girl (2012), was selected for the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Atlanta’s Out On Film, Gender Reel Film Festival (2012), and Massimadi, the LGBT Film Festival of Africa and its Diasporas (2016). M.I. also paved the way for more projects that would educate, entertain and feature provocative subjects and subject matter. Leslie’s latest documentary film project is JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana, a three-part documentary about her grandfather’s popular traveling “girl show” that significantly impacted American entertainment in the mid-20th century. The documentary film is part of a larger multimedia documentary project called The Harlem in Havana Project, which aims to revive the her family’s rich entertainment history.
Leslie is a member of the Gamma Xi Phi fraternity for artists and creators committed to community service, service to the arts and brotherhood among all artists; Film Fatales, a non-profit which advocates for parity in the entertainment industry and supports women directors; Brown Girls Doc Mafia, an initiative advocating for women and non-binary people of color working in the documentary film industry; and, Soka Gakkai International, Buddhists in action for peace.
Read Leslie’s Artist Statement
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