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JIG SHOW!? Documentary Title Draws Controversy
Filmmaker Unearths A Little Known American Entertainment Legacy
In her forthcoming documentary film, JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana, Cunningham takes viewers on a magical journey under the carnival bigtop. The film tells the story of Leon Claxton and his wildly popular stage production, Harlem in Havana, an epic Black and Cuban musical that profoundly impacted North American entertainment. Labeled a ‘Jig Show’ by the outdoor entertainment industry and mainstream media of the day, Harlem in Havana helped launch the careers of entertainment heavyweights Chuck Berry, Mercedes Valdez, Rufus Thomas and Fontella Bass. The show played a major role in shaping American pop culture during the turbulent Jim Crow era and social revolution in Cuba.
“In my lifetime, I’ve known the term ‘jiggaboo’
During her research, Cunningham found an etymology of the term ‘jig’ born in the European renaissance, in celebration-
Cunningham came to understand this word and classification reached beyond the politics of the day as do the discourses on race engaged by her grandfather, Leon Claxton’s show. A journey into the complexity of American entertainment and race history, JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana, seeks to tell the most honest story.
Currently in early production, the provocative film is slated for release in December 2015, This April, Cunningham plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign in partnership with the Southern Documentary Fund to help defray production costs. Learn more about the film at jigshow.com (http://www.jigshow.com/
About Leslie Cunningham: Leslie Cunningham is an independent filmmaker, artist, writer, journalist and founder of TRIBES Entertainment, an award-winning digital media and production company based in Durham, North Carolina. Driven by a passion for storytelling, Leslie is a graduate of The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University with a Certificate in Documentary Arts. Her debut feature film documentary, M.I., A Different Kind of Girl (2012), was selected for such film festivals as the 2014 Gender Reel film festival; The 2012 North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and Atlanta’s 2012 Out On Film. M.I. also paved the way for more projects that would educate, entertain and feature provocative subjects and subject matter. As Owner and Creative Director for TRIBES, Leslie brings this wealth of industry knowledge to her client, film and journalism work.
Page Updated Last on: Mar 30, 2015