Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Mom, There Really are Jamaicans in London!

September 3, 2010 · No Comments

My experience at the Notting Hill Carnival was truly unforgettable.  I had always heard great things about this event, but I would have never expected to feel so “at home” in London.  Anxious and totally in my element, I was ready to tackle the crowds of thousands of people and celebrate my culture. There was sunlight, upbeat music, aromas of spices and charred grills, and a different dance party on every other block- I was in heaven!  It didn’t take me too long to realize that this culture didn’t only pertain to me or the people that were recognizably Caribbean, but also the people who’s appearances were far from it.  While standing next to an middle aged white man, who had a Red Stripe in hand and belted out more reggae lyrics than I knew, I realized the culture of London was very different than that of New York. 


In Brooklyn, New York, there is also a festival held annually to celebrate the culture of the Caribbean that my family and I attend every year.  Taking place on Labor Day weekend informally titled “The West Indian Labor Day Parade’, it is a day filled with great music, food, and beautifully embellished costumes- just like the celebration at Notting Hill. (http://www.carnaval.com/cityguides/newyork/ny_carn.htm) Armed policemen are scattered on each block ensuring safety amongst the very homogenous crowd that this carnival attracts.  Located in one of the better communities in Brooklyn, populated by a moderate amount of white people, I can count on two hands the amount of white people that I have seen at the carnival in the last couple of years.  This is why I was pleasantly surprised at the dynamics of the multitude at Notting Hill.  I grant that the inclusion of alcohol could have played a major part in brining so many different people together but, I strongly believe that that couldn’t have possibly been the only commonality between millions of people.  I witnessed people actually enjoying themselves; whether it was drinking, standing on outrageously long ques for food, bopping and singing along to the music, and even dancing in the streets.  It puts a smile on my face to know that there are people other than Caribbeans that have a keen interest in our culture; something that I haven’t seen in New York, or in any of the US thus far.



Despite taking forty-five minutes to escape the crowds and find an operating train station, I had a delightful time.  Seeing people of all different races, cultures and ages come together and enjoy eachother’s company was like a breath of fresh air, and gave me some type of hope for humanity- even if there were one too many Rum Punches involved!

Categories: 2010 Melissa · Uncategorized
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