London Notting Hill Carnival and anti-racism

This 2009 video from London, England is called Calypso music in celebration of Claudia Jones, mother of the London Notting Hill Carnival.

By Will Stone in Britain:

Revellers told not to forget political roots of carnival

Tuesday 26th August 2014

Black activists highlight anti-racist origins of Notting Hill

Black activists reminded revellers at Notting Hill Carnival yesterday not to forget the roots of the event as an anti-racist bash.

Thousands joined the colourful annual fanfare in west London despite the grim weather.

Flamboyant headdresses and skimpy costumes were joined by umbrellas and plastic ponchos.

Seven thousand police officers were on patrol at the event, now in its 48th year.

But Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (Barac) national co-founders Zita Holbourne and Lee Jasper reminded carnival-goers of the true purpose of the gathering.

“It’s important to remember how it started,” Ms Holbourne told the Morning Star. “It’s about our roots, our identity, our Caribbean community.

“Carnival was originally started as a response to counter the sickening racism faced by the black community during the ’60s. Over the years it’s lost some of that original vision.

“This has partly been a result of a lot of restrictions and cuts to the event, with threats about taking it off the streets.

“There’s been an attempt to remove its roots but we must never let them be lost.”

Black activist Claudia Jones is said to have founded the carnival in response to race riots that broke out in Notting Hill and the racially motivated murder of West Indian carpenter Kelso Cochrane by six white youths.

Mr Jasper reminded people on Twitter that the carnival is “a political statement.

“We should remember that the founder of Notting Hill Carnival Claudia Jones was a committed communist responding to murder of Kelso Cochrane.

“We can dance ourselves back into ‘slavery’ or return anti-racist politics back into carnival.”

And he called on the carnival to mark yesterday’s funeral of Michael Brown, an African-American teenager shot dead by a white policeman in Missouri, US.

Theresa Smith, 69, who lives in south London but is originally from St Vincent in the Caribbean, helped to make costumes for children joining the South Connections band which took part in the procession.

She said: “For two days of the year the streets of London are mine as a West Indie.

“The Caribbean community comes together and we celebrate. Celebrate the diversity, the culture, the mix of nationalities in London.”

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