London definitely came through this bank holiday weekend as temperatures reached as high as 27c in the capital city (considered a heat wave in the UK) – just in time for the 2nd biggest carnival in the world, Notting Hill.
The streets were filled packed with dancers, parades, dj’s, floats, and people who came out just to have a good time. With the aftermath of the Grenfell tower disaster many questioned if carnival would still take the streets of Notting Hill. It did so in it’s classic manner of displaying unity and community spirit in the heart of North West London.
For those who do not know the roots of Notting Hill Carnival stem from the late 50s during the Caribbean wind rush era. After race riots took place in Notting Hill in 1958, journalist Claudia Jones decided to host an indoor carnival a year later as a way of signifying peace and unity amongst communities. The main premise was to “wash the taste of the nothing hill and Nottingham riots out of everyone’s mouths”. The first Mardi-Grass based carnival was held in St Pancreas town hall.
Claudia Jones was a black activist, communist, journalist, and often hailed as the god mother of carnival. Born in Trinidad – she and her family migrated to Harlem NYC where she began her career in radical media journalism. Jones went on to write about race related issues, riots, and used her political activism in line with public speaking and event organising.
After being deported from the US to the UK she became engulfed in the struggles experienced by the Caribbean communities in London. In 1958, she had founded the West Indian Gazette and Afro-Asian Caribbean News. Britains first media outlet for Black communities.
Claudia Jones passed away on Christmas eve 1964 – two years before Rhaune Laslett officially launched the annual bank holiday street parade. Jones spirit, struggle, and passion for black communities will forever live in the roots and soul of Notting Hill Carnival.
The streets were filled this year and I had the pleasure of witnessing millions of people celebrating in true caribbean style. With record breaking weather. positive vibes, rolling hips, and an abudance of energy – carnival 2017 will be one to remember. Below are some highlights from this years event
You can’t have a year at carnival without spotting a police officer joining the crowd and embracing the vibes
Communities gather together to pay respect to those affected by the Grenfell tower disaster
Cheers to another year at Notting Hill