Wooooiiii, all my ladies from Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent, Jamaica, Trinidad, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia.....wave your flags. Then hol' up ya foot and jump, jump.
When I hear this, I know it's carnival time!!!
Young and old, fat and skinny, rich and poor black people come together and put on the biggest street party in Europe. Sadly for the second year in a row we can't wok up we waist, skin out we pum pum, or bruk it up my girl...but that doesn't mean we can't celebrate and salute this historic and momentous event. Throw on some soca tunes and dance ‘til your legs hurt, your smile is wide and your heart’s content. Don’t know the names of the songs? No problem, stick on YouTube and find the vibe that says carnival to you. I’m sure you must of seen the video of the man that was so upset by the lack of carnival last year, he walked the entire route, dressed up with a speaker thumping out the music. Whilst he seemed crazy at first people were entertained and lifted by him and reminded of the history of the carnival.
Originally born in Trinidad, Claudia Cumberbatch Jones migrated to America with her family when she was eight. Claudia grew to become a communist activist, a member of the NAACP and a feminist who championed the cause of Black women. She sought and fought in many arenas in her plight against the oppression of black people, in both the US and UK. Claudia Cumberbatch Jones was the creator and editor of The West Indian Gazette, a newspaper which aimed to share information and notify the black community of what was happening around them.
After living through the brutality and injustice of the Notting Hill riots, Claudia made a bold decision to create a new memory of that summer bank holiday weekend by starting a celebration of West Indian heritage and culture. The gathering began in a little community hall in 1959 and continued to grow over the next six years until the party as we know it was born in 1966. Notting Hill Carnival has grown into one of the most known and iconic black parties of the year, the 2-day event brings together black cultures, heritage and traditions through music, dance, food, arts and unity. We don’t all go for the same reasons but we all get the same thing out of it, the freedom to be authentically us.
Claudia Cumberbatch Jones OY salutes you.
We asked our nearest and dearest what they thought of the event and their fondest memories and this is what they said….,
"From my son was small I used to take him and even when he didn't want to go with me anymore I still went, a dat the place for me oh Lord"
“Carnival is just so good, when you’re little it’s overwhelming but you’re drawn into the magic of it all. Getting to see the melting pot of the many black cultures which you may not have experienced as well as the outfits, the food, the music. It just leaves such a lasting impression that when you get older it almost becomes a right of passage to attend it by yourself with friends.”
“Notting Hill is the time of year you express yourself as a Caribbean person. For me, August Bank Holiday was reserved for carnival, no other functions I would attend. We started off going with parents on the Sunday. Picking a spot to watch the parade, picnic in tow. As we got older Monday was the day, behind the truck, absolutely is the only way to enjoy carnival. It was a bonus to stop by a sound systems when you got tired of a float, only to re-join when a next truck passed that was pumping your tune.”
“Carnival or Caribbean Christmas for me is Entertainment, Culture and Family. I have been attending Notting Hill Carnival since I was in the womb and have only missed it due to the pandemic. As I adorn myself with brightly coloured garments and whining my waist, or as bajans say “wukking up stink” behind the truck singing my heart out to every soca song played on the sound system, trying not to spill my rum punch.”
So when Tuesday comes, your feet are still hurting and the money done spent on using private toilets, snow cones and buying yet another flag, you can still feel lifted by the carnival experience. You look up and smile knowing you come from a long line of exceptional people. whilst you’re making your poor mans packed lunch for work (lol).
Head over to Lifestyle Forum and tell us about your carnival experience.