Brown Skin Showgirls, One-Legged Tappers and a Lucumi Ritual Dance

Harlem in havana dancers 3 - 50s

The Harlem in Havana Project: Preserving an American Entertainment Legacy

The last remaining of the great entertainers from one of America’s most successful traveling shows are finally telling their stories in  JIG SHOW| Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana, a new documentary film from filmmaker Leslie Cunningham. Part of a larger work known as the Harlem in Havana Project, Cunningham is working to archive this explosive chapter in American entertainment through the creation and support of a diversity of mediums including the film;  a companion book – Harlem in Havana: Memories from the Black Side of the World’s Largest Carnival Midway (by associate producer John Cunningham); a photography exhibit– “Harlem in Havana – 1935-1967”; and, a website, Read more now!


Published by: Leslie Cunningham

A master storyteller with a journalistic background, Leslie Cunningham is an artist, writer, filmmaker, collaborator and creator of TRIBES Magazine. Driven by a passion for storytelling, Leslie is a graduate of the Documentary Arts Program at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. She has directed, produced and collaborated on a collection of engaging documentary films and short video for public broadcast and film festivals. Leslie’s debut documentary film, M.I., A Different Kind of Girl (2012), was chosen for Massimadi festival of Africa (2016), Gender Reel film festival (2014), The North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (2012), and Atlanta’s Out On Film (2012). Leslie is currently working on her second feature, JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana, which was selected for the Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Program. Leslie was also a recipient of the 2014 ITVS Diversity Development Fund and a fellow of the 2015 Cucalorus Filmmaker Residency Program. Owner of TRIBES Entertainment, a boutique digital marketing company in Durham, NC, Leslie brings a wealth of industry knowledge to her client work. She has worked tirelessly on several worthy projects to help raise money for local non-profits and is committed to mentoring young emerging artists, filmmakers and entrepreneurs. Email Leslie at

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