THE HACKNEY ONE CARNIVAL was a great success. Starting at the Regent’s Canal in Haggerston and winding through Hackney, it attracted people from beyond London to watch the parade and to party in the streets… albeit in a muted “It’s too grey-skied to dance today” kind of way.
Many people found it easier to enjoy than West London’s gigantic Notting Hill carnival. A wit using the tag CTS tweeted: “I see your Notting Hill, and I raise you #HackneyOneCarnival.”
One person was stabbed, police told Loving Dalston, but mostly the vibe was chilled — “Excuse me” polite.
Doubts, however, linger about the parade’s aim of drawing together the various peoples of the borough. Most of the 20-plus participating groups were black.
Where, for example, were the Hindi dancers, the Chinese floats, the Turks, the Roma, Bengali, Jews, Kurds, Greeks, Scots, Welsh, Irish Travellers and others who have been in Hackney for generations?
As for faith groups, few Muslims, apart from Cypriots and Anatolians, waited by the roads to watch the parade. In Dalston Lane two niqab-clad women walked quickly away from the joyous procession.
A Latino contingent drew on salsa and other South American dance and music styles to give the parade a chili-pepper edge and it was good to see a section under a Paracarnival banner. But that hardly makes the event multiculti.
As a showcase for the high level of talent in the black community, the outstandingly creative costumes that take months of work, and the superb dancing and music, especially the Ghanaian, the day was a success. On one level.
Hackney council subcontracts most of the carnival to a man called Pax Nindi, who runs similar events elsewhere in England, as well as in Africa. Styled as “creative director of the carnival”, he is quoted as saying that “so many” residents are “getting involved”.
Some minorities would liked to see wider involvement.
David Altheer 120917
* Pictures © DavidAltheer[at]gmail.com and all for sale for reproduction. Bigger format versions usually available.
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained. Most photographs can be visually enlarged by pressing on them.