London's joyous Notting Hill Carnival

Though around just three percent of the UK's total population, black Britons - mostly hailing from Britain's former West Indies colonies such as Jamaica, Barbados, and St. Lucia - have made their mark in many British cities (though overwhelmingly in Greater London, with other significant concentrations in Birmingham and Manchester) and on the culture as a whole, with notable figures including actor Idriss Elba; model Naomi Campbell; singers singer Joan Armatrading, Sade, and Shirley Bassey; artist Chris Ofili, author Zadie Smith; journalist Gary Younge; and quite a few assorted politicians, sport figures, Anglican bishops, and more. The very fact that Black History Month is celebrated in the U.K. is in fact quite telling.

Among the best places in London to experience the black community include Brixton, Hackney, Lambeth, and Southwark. For much of the latter half of the 20th century, Notting Hill was also an Afro-Caribbean stronghold, and though it's since been gentrified to the point of fashionability, the colorful, late-summer Notting Hill Carnival (pictured here), marking its 63rd year this past August). Black history walks are available, and there are a number of museums and cultural institutions either specializing in or showcasing black history/culture, including the Africa Centre in Covent Garden, Brixton's Black Cultural Archives, and the Hackney Museum.

Read more about African-derived culture across the world in my post 12 Top Destinations for African Diaspora Travel.




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