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Leeds West Indian Carnival
Credit for audio clip: Sonic City

Claude Hendrickson talks about the meaning of Carnival

Recording credit: Sonic City

I was born, brought up and have lived in Chapeltown all of my life. I am now 47 years old so I have been going to Carnival, since, properly by myself since about 1972. What Carnival means to me. Carnival means – Carnival is an opportunity for Chapeltown to express itself. We get a weekend once a year where we can express ourselves and invite the world into Chapeltown to kind of hopefully defeat the negative stereotypical view of Chapeltown. People can come, feel safe, eat food, drink drink, be happy and look at some of our culture. Carnival is an expression of the abolition of slave, of the slave trade, so it’s a celebration, so it’s nice to invite people to Chapeltown to celebrate with us one weekend of the year. Yeah, adding more to that – I think the costumes are good because they allow young people to actually have an input and the older people to share historical memories,  young people to use their artistic skills and at Carnival there’s a chance to sample all Caribbean foods, all Caribbean drinks and a lot of Caribbean culture,  so it’s definitely 40 years of celebrating the emancipation and celebrating the Community, the black African Caribbean community of Leeds.