Home African Caribbean Has The Spirit Of Carnival Been Hijacked…

Has The Spirit Of Carnival Been Hijacked…

by D Fitz-Roberts
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Carnival in the global Caribbean arena is an outdoor street activity designed to celebrate freedom from toiling and strife through the display of painstakingly designed and crafted multi-coloured costumes.

Practiced throughout the Caribbean, the United States, Canada and Amsterdam this popular festive pastime has also become a much loved event here in London in the form of Nottinghill Carnival created by Trinidadian human rights activist Claudia Jones in 1958.

For years the London Nottinghill Carnival has been beset by all manner of bad vibes which generally have nothing to do with Caribbean people such as inter gang rivalry between African youth, many of whom have little to no appreciation for Caribbean culture.

In 2019, when Nottinghill Carnival was last held, the Met arrested about 350 people, the majority for drug offences, while 37 were held for assaults on police.

The news of British African rapper Takayo Nembhard though tragic and very sad was not surprising as the attitude of many young people today suggests very little respect for each other and limited regard for life.

The spirit of carnival, that which was envisioned by its founders, though still embodied by the professional carnivalists (designers, wire benders, sounds and many die-hard revellers), is lost by so many that it threatens the very survival of this valid cultural event.

As a boy growing up in the Caribbean, having participated in carnival events in Guyana (Mashramani), Grenada, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda and BVI, the author has always enjoyed the air of festive celebrations, the fetes, the beautiful costume displays, the ole talk and constant laughter around some revellers who appear too old, frail or totally out of their depths, while enjoying a cold one.

The general behaviour of the revellers was appropriate, respectful and in keeping with what was considered ‘civilised’ and up-standing. Today it would seem, some believe the preceding values mentioned are old hat and a thing of the past and that they can engage in behaviour that is offensive, absurd and grossly outrageous like what is contained in the video below (the origin of the video is unknown).

Such acts of indecency should be outlawed and offenders should be either arrested or forcefully removed under the ASBO act (Antisocial Behaviour Order) to protect the sanctity and integrity of carnival so that the younger generation are not confused about the true meaning and essence of carnival thereby enabling them to enjoy it and respect the hard work carnivalists put in to preserve this truly Caribbean cultural activity. We the Caribbean community need to take back carnival from the distructive elements that mean it harm! If you like this article please.

D Fitz-Roberts

D Fitz-Roberts

D Fitz-Roberts is a multi-talented writer on socio-economic issues having worked in journalism across the Caribbean (Grenada, Guyana and BVI) in the 90s. He has worked in London with Black Britain Online, New Nation Newspaper and Caribbean Times. An academic with a passion for research on distributed ledger technologies in emerging economies he is keen to see the Caribbean embrace bitcoin and blockchain technologies to keep pace with the west. He writes periodically for mainstream publications and is the founder of CaribDirect.com. He is also the author of Caribbean children’s book LifeSucks! available on Amazon.


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