Notting Hill Carnival 2019 – An Experience!

In the words of Alston Becket Cyrus, “Carnival is mas and music! Carnival is calypso! Carnival is mas and steel-band! Carnival is peace!” As an innate music lover, my fondness for Soca and Carnival on a whole transcends the revelry or “good-time” that most may identify with. I have a penchant appreciation for the carnival art-form; the sweet soca vibes, diversity of costumes and particularly the inclusive harmony.

On the 8th August, 2019 I received a notification from Facebook that I’d been tagged in a post by my fellow compatriot in London – Ianna Parsons (whom I fondly call IP) stating that “Trinis in London” which is a media house in London, was looking for “volunteer” photographers. I had no DSLR camera and have only had amateur photography experience but with a determined and optimistic outlook I decided that I was going to give this a shot (no pun intended). I immediately sent off an email denoting my interest highlighting my field of work being a Freelance Writer and was instantly contacted about the prospect. Yes, this was NOT a paid engagement but the opportunity to give my service to such a reputable medium and have my effort noticed and featured was more than I could have hoped for. As I had recently started my blog and sourcing material, I reckoned that the best way to see the bands was to actually be in the bands and that was possible as I was provided with a Notting Hill Carnival “Access All Areas” pass accredited by The Outside Organisation which allowed me to go into the various bands to take photographs.

𝘔𝘦 𝘢𝘵 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘴 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘯 𝘞𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘯𝘦 𝘎𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘦

It was in this moment that I was reminded by the words articulated by one of my associates – Calvert Jones whom I hold in high regard, “Avoid going to “hunting” events to try to meet great people, you will most likely keep attracting the desperate and opportunistic types. Involve yourself in activities and events like volunteer groups or community projects where people with great hearts and the best spirits show up… Generally, the better we all become at giving is the more we are available to gain.”

𝘾𝙖𝙧𝙣𝙞𝙫𝙖𝙡 𝙞𝙨 𝙌𝙪𝙚𝙚𝙣!

𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘯𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘴 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘕𝘰𝘵𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘏𝘪𝘭𝘭
𝘏𝘦𝘳 𝘴𝘤𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘢𝘪𝘭𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘦𝘮𝘱𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘪𝘭𝘭
𝘐𝘯 𝘤𝘭𝘰𝘶𝘥𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘵 𝘴𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘴
𝘖𝘯 𝘧𝘭𝘰𝘢𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘯𝘰𝘯 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘺
𝘈𝘭𝘭 𝘦𝘺𝘦𝘴 𝘶𝘱𝘰𝘯 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘧𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘧𝘭𝘺
𝘈𝘴 𝘴𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴 ‘𝘯𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩 𝘢 𝘤𝘭𝘰𝘶𝘥𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘴𝘬𝘺
𝘈 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘺 𝘮𝘪𝘹 𝘰𝘧 𝘩𝘰𝘵 𝘴𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘵 𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘤𝘦
𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘳𝘶𝘮 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘤𝘦
𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘺𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘦𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘴𝘦𝘦 𝘩𝘦𝘳
𝘕𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘭𝘰𝘰𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘣𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘰𝘳 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘳
𝘛𝘰 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘰𝘳 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘩𝘦’𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯
𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘐𝘚 𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘯𝘪𝘷𝘢𝘭, 𝘚𝘏𝘌 𝘪𝘴 𝘘𝘶𝘦𝘦𝘯!

© 27.08.19

With reference to volunteering ones’ time, one of my favourite motivational speakers/authors – Les Brown opined that “There is a presence within you where you can find joy, comfort and inner strength to give you the capacity to handle whatever you are facing. You have something special. You have GREATNESS within you!!”

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a socaholic at heart; soca music epitomizes the powerful yet sweet effects that soca music has on me.

𝘏𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘰𝘢𝘥 𝘥𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘧𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘴 𝘴𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘴𝘰𝘤𝘢 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘕𝘰𝘵𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘏𝘪𝘭𝘭

Dancing to soca is my escape… my release – I am sure those of you who have seen me can attest to how the music embraces my energy and engages the full embodiment of my zealous gyrations but this actuality had to be curbed as I was dedicated to my devoir. Regardless of that, it’s the unity of love that fills the atmosphere which makes me come alive, creating a certain type of vibe that makes me love Carnival!

Notting Hill Carnival 2019 showcased a spectacular production of mas, connecting a community of unity, exploding with the vibrancy of soca music that excites you to jump and wave in harmonic rhythm, tantalises with the euphoric steel-band awakening the jamboree spirit of visitors and locals alike. And the cherry on top was the dazzling array of spectacular costumes on display as it truly depicted the kaleidoscope of colour and culture of carnival in the diaspora. Not only were the senses of sight and hearing excited but the exotic aromas of mouth-watering Caribbean delicacies definitely had a nostalgic and inviting endearment.

𝘑𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘢 𝘧𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘢𝘵 𝘕𝘰𝘵𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘏𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘊𝘢𝘳𝘯𝘪𝘷𝘢𝘭

In a nutshell, Notting Hill Carnival 2019 was both a science formula and art as it was seasoned, mixed or cooked properly into the melting pot that it is today. It is with these variables that the artistry of Notting Hill Carnival could very well be the Biggest and Hottest Carnival in the world generating over £93million and a record 2.5million people in attendance! My experience was overall a wonderful one and a great opportunity to network and enjoy the festival. To Alex, Joe, Kristian & Ghino Parker, Fancy, Franz, Ben Pester, Shireen Fenner and Ianna Parsons thank you ALL for making my first Notting Hill Carnival experience one that I’ll always remember!

𝘊𝘢𝘳𝘯𝘪𝘷𝘢𝘭 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘧𝘢𝘮𝘢𝘭𝘢𝘺-𝘭𝘢𝘺-𝘭𝘢𝘺-𝘭𝘢𝘺-𝘭𝘢𝘺-𝘭𝘢𝘺-𝘭𝘢𝘺-𝘭𝘢𝘺…

Sincerely Yours,

Carnival Ken

Written by Kenrife Matthias

Owners Claim

About a month ago I entered an Instagram competition (just because) that was put on by a London based photography group and won the second price – a free photoshoot booking + free photos.

However, on the weekend that I was supposed to have done said shoot I fell ill and considered giving the prize to a friend or family member as suggested by the photographer. Withal, none of the persons I contacted were interested; whether they thought it wasn’t legit or some other reason so I literally regarded the opportunity as gone. To my surprise, at the end of July the photographer contacted me stating that although my prize had expired they were willing to extend it but it by another 30 days. At first, I thought this has got to be too good to be true but at second thought I said by all means let me take advantage of this because opportunities like these don’t happen often.

To cut a longgggg story short, I decided to kill two birds with one stone on a day I was going in Central London and had such a blast that I’ve come to the following realisations;

What is for you will be for you! Never try to pass on your blessing or gift because you feel undeserving or aren’t ready. When I won the prize I was ill but I also felt underserving as I never considered myself photogenic or “good-looking” mainly because of my being partially visually impaired. I tried to give away/ pass on something that was clearly meant for me and whether by the powers that be or some other fons et origo it was there for me to have in the end.

We sometimes judge our appearances based off of our phone selfies or societal standards of beauty but I have come to realise that my aesthetic is too dope to be based or governed by conventional calibre or the tiny lens that can cause barrel/ lens distortion.

When you love yourself and truly embody your imperfections; you glow from the inside out. By extension you also attract people who love, respect, and appreciate your energy and essence. Knowing that everything starts with and how I perceive myself, I now feel more worthy, valuable and deserving of receiving the best that life has to offer to me. It’s my time now!

I am on a different timeline baby! I am not the same person I was a year ago, a month ago, or even a week ago. I am constantly changing, learning and growing into the person I am meant to be. My experiences are teaching me to fully embrace and live in my truth, charisma and uniqueness while I rewrite my narrative!

Pictures courtesy @picurphoto_london