One of Germany’s biggest Caribbean carnivals was treated to a special display celebrating black heroes including the late Bernie Grant, Malcolm X and Barack Obama.
The talented group of young people from radical mas band, the People’s World Carnival Band, based at the Old Brewery in Tottenham, north London, showed off their unique handiwork at the Bielefeld Carnival of Culture, in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, last weekend (June 6).
Members of the band – which celebrates its 34th anniversary this year – hail from a variety of cultures united by their Tottenham roots.
During after-school and summer arts and media projects, the young people learn about local pioneers and role models, the West Indian carnival tradition and black history in order to become self-aware global citizens.
This year’s theme was the five Rs – Resilience, Resistance, Resonance, Reparation and Renaissance, and saw the band bring to life historical figures including Nelson Mandela, Angela Davis, Russell Henderson and Maya Angelou.
Black Heroes: Young people display their Obama costume
But it was the late Tottenham MP Bernie Grant – who died in 2000 before many of the young people were even born – who is dearest to the children’s hearts.
Organiser Sally Sturgeon said: “Bernie Grant’s achievements stick most in their minds. This was a man who did stuff in their local community and went on to be known worldwide.
“As many will know, Tottenham is very often in the middle of very controversial things going on and we work with young people to do a social commentary to help them understand the world around us and their place in it.”
She added: “The carnival was great. We got lots of interest in our costumes because the kind of stuff we do always generates a lot of questions.”