Leeds West Indian Carnival 2017

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It was the 50th year of the carnival, located in the Chapeltown area of Leeds, not far from my Granny’s house.

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Older than Notting Hill Carnival, but the meaning is the same – to celebrate the rich and varied culture of the West Indies region. Many moved to the UK years ago but have been faced with prejudice and even violence, and carnival is a chance to show to the Brits that it is a culture to love, not hate. Like Notting Hill, Chapeltown/Chapel Allerton was where West Indian communities thrived, and unlike Notting Hill this still remains the case.

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The costumes were insane, I have a lot of respect for those who danced all day in the heaviest ones.

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Also available was amazing food. Did I get jerk chicken? Of course I did (although I did consider the curried goat…)

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Although some may accuse white people attending of cultural appropriation, it is not the intention of carnival. Instead it is meant to bring everyone together in appreciation of a culture that is a part of Britain now as much as it is uniquely its own. Sure, white people made their own troops for the parade and it looked daft, but others joined in other troops and just had a blast without making it about themselves, or danced and enjoyed the music as I did.

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