I wasn’t allowed to attend Notting Hill Carnival until the age of 18. My Togolese father was very strict with that rule, so I impatiently waited for the chance to let loose with my friends every year since the age of 15.
I had some serious ‘FOMO’, or ‘fear of missing out’, especially since I was eager to properly experience such a huge part of my culture and heritage, being half Jamaican.
When I went to carnival for the first time, I was in awe. I don’t usually tend to like crowded spaces – the pushing, the likelihood of fights breaking out – but I was in my element during that Bank Holiday Monday.
I attended carnival with a close friend, who is also Jamaican and had been allowed to attend from a younger age, so I knew I was in good hands. With my huge black, yellow and green flag wrapped around my waist, I was ready for the road.