Sunday, February 24, 2019

Harlem in Havana Project Event Photos

Photos from the For Us / By Us documentary film work-in-progress series held at the Beyu Caffe in Durham, NC in April 2017. Presented by the Southern Documentary Fund, the The Harlem in Havana Project showcased photography and held a live show. Read more.  

Filmmaker Leslie Cunningham presents her wip screening and show. 


The Harlem in Havana photography exhibit


Filmmaker Leslie Cunningham with local artists
Show cast

Show cast

BROWN SKIN SHOWGIRLS


BROWN SKIN SHOWGIRLS is a black and white photographic collection of the Black and Cuban women who performed burlesque, exotic, rhumba, salsa, calypso, striptease and female impersonation on Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana Revue during its run on Royal American Shows from 1936 to 1967. This book is guaranteed to expand your knowledge of Black and Cuban performers that shaped American popular culture. Order your print copy for $25 on Amazon.   

Friday, November 2, 2018

Brown Skin Showgirls, Vol I & II




Get both Brown Skin Showgirls books autographed by Leslie Cunningham (creator and filmmaker). Order the set here! 

All sales will help to support the documentary film project



Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Brown Skin Showgirls, Vol II The Cuban Edition is Here!

Available in print and digital formats!    

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

From the secular to the spiritual, Afro-Cuban music and dance were rapidly growing in popularity in the U.S. by the mid-20th century. Yet, after The Cuban Revolution of 1959, international relations were shattered, artistic freedoms ended and travel was restricted to the tropical island once known as America's favorite vacation spot. 

Although the best talent from Cuba has long been forgotten in the states, Afro-Cuban culture still has a strong hold on many U.S. troupes who incorporate a rich Latin blend into their repertoires.Still, there is much to be discovered about how the Afro-Cuban craze landed and took root in American soil. 

Created by TRIBES Entertainment for The Harlem in Havana Project, BROWN-SKINSHOWGIRLS, VOL II: The Cuban Edition is a black and white photographic collection of the Cuban women who performed rhumba, salsa and calypso on Leon Claxton’s “Harlem in Havana” Revue in the 1950s. This book is guaranteed to expand your knowledge of these talented performers who wowed American and Canadian audiences, and helped popularize Latin entertainment in a way that still resonates today. 

All attempts have been made to verify the names and whereabouts of the women, and men, appearing in this book. Thanks to this special collector’s edition, they will never be forgotten. Get ready to be titillated! 


Click here to learn more. 




Friday, March 30, 2018

Documentary Film About 'Harlem in Havana' Spotlights Afro Cuban Inspired Artists

Dancer and Choreographer
 Andrea Woods Valdés
DURHAM, N.C. - March 30, 2018 - PRLog -- Although the best talent from Cuba has long been forgotten in the states, Afro Cuban culture still has a strong hold on American entertainers. Today, many U.S. performance troupes incorporate blends of Latin, African and European cultures into their repertoires, but there is still much to be discovered about how the Afro Cuban craze landed and took root in American soil.

Later on this year, the long-awaited documentary film JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana by producer and director Leslie Cunningham, will shine a light on this rich history. This weekend, Cunningham teams up with cinematographer Kelly Creedon in Durham, NC to conduct some of the final interviews for the film. Lined up are two powerhouse academics, dancer and choreographer Andrea Woods Valdés and artist and writer Dr. Joan Francisco Valdés Santos.

JIG SHOW is the story of 'Harlem in Havana', one of America's most successful traveling shows that birthed music icons, broke carnival records and significantly influenced Black and Latin entertainment during the Jim Crow era. The film also unearths the legend of African American showman Leon Claxton, a world-renowned impresario whose vision, passion and determination produced a multicultural stage show that still resonates with wonder today.

Arguably the hallmark girl show revue in North America, Claxton's popular midway attraction introduced a chorus-line of brown skin showgirls performing exotic, rumba, salsa and calypso dances. The film considers Claxton's work in pre- and post-revolution Cuba- maneuvering government and working closely with Cuban officials and nationals, such as the first recorded Santeria singer Mercedes Valdés'  and Cuban dance troupe, The Cuban Dancing Dolls, who traveled and performed early salsa and rumba on Claxton's show before the revolution. Claxton not only presented dance troupes from Havana, Cuba, he discovered new talent all over the Caribbean, including Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad where the merengue dance was born. Read more.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Harlem in Havana Photography

The Harlem in Havana Photography Exhibition 
Coming 2018, this photography exhibit features more than one hundred never-before seen images taken of The Harlem in Havana Revue spanning the 1930s through the 1960s.



Visit the Harlem in Havana Shop  
to purchase cool collectibles!