Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Film clip: My Family's Entertainment Legacy


My Family's Entertainment Legacy. Watch a clip from the documentary film JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana by filmmaker Leslie Cunningham. In this educational video clip, a colorful cast share their memories about Harlem in Havana, one of America's most successful traveling shows that broke carnival records from the U.S. to Western Canada, helped birth icons Redd Foxx, Fontella Bass and Chuck Berry, and significantly impacted Black entertainment in the mid 20th century, during the Jim Crow era. In the video, we meet filmmaker Leslie, the granddaughter of a great African American impresario who shares her childhood memories in Tampa, Florida where the show was headquartered for nearly forty years. Leslie interviews her father John Cunningham (son of Leon Claxton) a musician who was raised on Harlem in Havana, and drove stakes with the tent-hands on the popular Black and Cuban carnival midway attraction. Their exclusive interviews add layers to this epic story. However, JIG SHOW is not just about family, but triumphs, connections and weaving across cultural divides. Above all else, Leslie is on a mission to preserve her family's legacy, before the memories die with a generation. Watch the full film at jigshow.com.

Part of The Harlem in Havana Project: Burlesque Education Series covering American burlesque history from the traveling carnival stage. Visit harleminhavana.com (Educate).