Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Tyler Perry of His Time



By Paul Guzzo | Tampa Tribune Staff

Tampa (February 2015) — The show was called Harlem In Havana, but Tampa could stake as much a claim to it as the city in Cuba or the Manhattan neighborhood. This was the variety show’s winter headquarters, plus Tampa’s Cuban heritage helped inspire the decision to combine in one troupe the music, dance and comedy of the island nation with the show’s African-American roots. What’s more, Harlem in Havana helped launch the careers of such stars as Chuck Berry, Mercedes Valdez, Redd Foxx and Fontella Bass, but its major attraction was the producer and ringmaster — Tampa’s own Leon Claxton. 

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