Notting Hill Carnival 2020 cancelled!

Notting Hill Carnival 2020 Cancelled for the first time in its’ history: here’s one way to try and fill the void… #CarnivalUncovered 

Notting Hill Carnival is cancelled for the first time in its’ history due to covid 19 and it breaks my heart!

I’ve been attending religiously since 2008. Come rain or shine not one Sunday or Monday has been missed since I was old enough to go on my own. For me as well as many others, carnival is the most anticipated day of the year. Better than christmas, better than new years, better than my birthday. I’ve even heard some women say their carnival costumes are just as important to them as their wedding dress yet strangely enough every year after carnival, I watch the news and see a totally opposite experience to the one I just had.  Every year I am disappointed and frustrated by the coverage, misunderstanding and misrepresentation. What Carnival were they going to? I have been attending NHC for over 10 years and never got caught up in half of what I see shown on the news, was I just lucky or was I doing something differently? 

I decided it was time to speak to the movers and the shakers of Notting Hill Carnival here in London to see what their experiences were like. I wanted to figure out what it was they loved so much about the second largest street party on the planet and why it meant so much to people like us? So we worked within the carnival community for the last two years, gaining insight and behind the scenes access to all areas. 

As the global black lives matter awakening has highlighted, it’s hard for black stories to get funding for narratives that accurately represent us but I thought it was important to give the world a chance to fall in love with carnival just as much as we had. So I teamed up with my friend and longtime collaborator, we made the series completely independently and funded it from our own pockets. With or without funding our stories matter and we can’t wait any longer for them to be told. We spoke to designers, DJs, models, masqueraders, mas band leaders and more hoping they could give us some answers. 

More than a passion project it’s a labour of love. We are both from the Caribbean community, born and raised in the UK. We’re sick and tired of the media portraying Carnival in such a negative light and we’re fighting hard to change the narrative. Carnival is a wonderful display of creativity, collaboration, diversity and inclusion, something we need in the world now more than ever!

Representation and role models are extremely important to me as an artist. It is especially important for black audiences in particular to see themselves reflected on stage and screen in more diverse, nuanced, authentic ways. For far too long the black narrative has been one of doom and gloom. My radical way of rebelling is to choose love and to spread love by showcasing and celebrating black talent and black stories. 

Identity and the black experience are a main focus of my work; for me Notting Hill Carnival is a huge part of that experience, how could I not share it? The second largest street party on the planet, something that has brought me so much joy over the years. It is essential that I do #sharethelove and give people a chance to see what carnival is really about. 

-Over 2.5 million people attend Notting Hill Carnival every year
-It contributes over 93 million pounds to London’s economy
-It’s the largest carnival/parade in Europe; second in the world only to Rio
-Over 15,000 carnival costumes are hand made and displayed each year
-Over 30 million sequins, 15,000 feathers and 30 litres of body paint are used each year
-Over 50 mas bands (including sound systems and steel pans) hit the road and provide music for the parade each year

Notting Hill Carnival 2020 is cancelled and there couldn’t be a more perfect time to share the story of carnival. They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Hopefully this a chance for us to appreciate Carnival and all it has to offer. Whether you’re learning to love carnival for the first time or simply just more than before, the connection only gets deeper. One of the world’s most beautiful celebrations, where different people from all walks of life come together to dance their worries away. That as well as so much more, join us as we uncover all…

#CarnivalUncovered was filmed in 2019 between the months of July and September. It was compiled and completed in the midst of a global pandemic during the covid 19 lockdown and the #blacklivesmatter worldwide awakening. The trend may be over but the movement and the marathon continues. We deserve to be heard. We deserve to be seen. We are planning to push this far and wide. It would mean so much to us if you could share the love and help us be a part of changing the narrative. 

We know nothing can replace the magic of carnival, but we hope this series helps to fill that void and maybe put a smile on your face. #CarnivalUncovered is a 7 part series. You can watch episode 1 now on YouTube! 

Written by: @leiandarell – Leian Darell

#carnivaluncovered #houseofblack #blacklivesmatter


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