Leslie is an artist, documentary filmmaker and owner of TRIBES Entertainment, a boutique digital media company known for creating daring and entertaining narratives that represent a diversity of subjects and communities. A graduate of the documentary arts program at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Leslie’s collection of engaging film and videos have screened on public television, online and at film festivals in the U.S. and internationally.
A raconteur with a journalistic background, Leslie created TRIBES Magazine in 2004 as artists across the Triangle area of North Carolina were calling out for a voice. As the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief for more than 13 years, Leslie robbed from the commercial rich and gave to the media-starved with a goal of giving to those determined to share something of themselves and their experience, a platform and a page from which to speak their ideas. Leslie’s 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.
Today, Leslie’s mission is to uncover unique stories from unknown subcultures and entertain audiences with dazzling shows and engaging narratives through TRIBES Entertainment Films. In 2012, Leslie released her first feature documentary film, M.I., A Different Kind of Girl, about a title-winning male impersonator who struggles to find acceptance from her family, her community and the male-dominated drag scene. M.I. was selected for The North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Atlanta’s Out On Film, Gender Reel Film Festival in 2012, and ended its festival tour in 2016 at Massimadi, the LGBT Film Festival of Africa and its Diasporas.
Leslie’s second film document titled Finding Aumont Whitaker premiered at Durham’s Hayti Heritage Film Festival in 2017. In the short doc, Leslie packs up her camera and goes on a cross-country trip with her friend, Dina, who meets her father’s family for the first time. A compelling and emotional observational style film, Finding Aumont received rave reviews amongst festival goers and continues to uplift the hearts of online viewers.
The granddaughter of a great impresario, Leslie is currently working on her third documentary film, JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana. The feature-length film honors Leslie’s grandfather and his wildly popular traveling revue that significantly impacted Black entertainment in the mid-20th century, during Jim Crow times. Coming Fall 2020, JIG SHOW was selected for sponsorship and funding from The Southern Documentary Fund, ITVS’ Diversity Development Fund, Cucalorus’ Work in Progress Program, and The Sundance New Frontier Lab. The film is part of a larger multimedia documentary project called The Harlem in Havana Project in which Leslie aims to revive Harlem in Havana’s rich entertainment history through a variety of thought-provoking content, including the film, a website home, and Brown-skin Showgirls, a photography book and exhibit.
Leslie is a member of Film Fatales, a non-profit which advocates for parity in the entertainment industry and supports women directors.