The Notting Hill Carnival, a Caribbean celebration in London, has been held in late August every year since the 1960s. Before the epidemic, it often drew 2 million people to the streets of London to celebrate West Indian culture.
The credit for the first carnival in the UK goes to Trinidadian journalist and activist Claudia Jones, who was the founder and editor-in-chief of the West Indian Gazette. In the 15050s, Notting Hill was in the news for its racial intolerance and riots against the white working class and for being directed against members of the black community. Jones saw an opportunity to push against racist violence again, organizing a carnival in 1959.
In the 1970s, a young teacher named Leslie Palmer took over the organization of the program. “I was a schoolteacher at the time and wanted to take a break from studying,” she told Annelyn Christie of media company Ilovecarnival in 2019. “Carnival seems to be dying. There was an ad for everyone interested in Time Out to attend a meeting Carnival. There were only five people there. I gave my idea.”
Palmer encourages people to rent stalls for food and drink on the way to the festival. He hired local stillpan bands and other musicians with loudspeakers and arranged sponsorships for the event. Palmer is also credited with extending the event to include all Caribbean expatriates, not just those of West Indian descent. The event, which attracts more than 1 million people annually, has been plagued by riots for years. But overall, the festival remains as it was – a joyous celebration of Caribbean culture and life.
“Notting Hill Carnival has always been a special summer attraction for me, and since each single year brings a completely different experience, it’s never tiring,” said Nadine Parsaud, deputy director of Photoworks, a London-based photography organization. And a UKBFTOG photographer who has been participating in the carnival since adolescence. “When I was younger, it was an opportunity to party completely hard, but when I grew up and became a parent, attendance became something more of an observer. There was no idea that the epidemic would postpone it for two years. Is A huge party is a favorite of many, but it carries a lot of deep significance for the local West London community as well as the UK’s larger black British and Caribbean community, so 2022 may not come soon. “
We look back on more than five decades of joy.