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Black in the Day
My mum and cousin playing Mas at carnivalCourtesy of Black in the Day

A look at people’s personal photos from Carnival in the 90s

Black in the Day have begun documenting the black British experience: “This is your people, this is how we used to party, this is what we used to do as a family”

Black in the Day is a London-based duo that hosts scanning parties to collect personal photography. Having showcased their collection at the V&A and the Tate, Dazed is partnering up with them to showcase their growing archive.

London is gearing up for the world’s second largest Carnival. For over 50 years Notting Hill has been the home to processions of steel pan bands, colourful parades of the feathered and bejewelled, roadside jerk stations, makeshift soundsystems, and gyrating revellers. It is the most unashamedly overt display of black culture and heritage.

But above all, it is a joyful celebration of blackness. Black people are rarely given their own agency to tell their own stories, celebrate their history and display their culture in schools, in media or in art/ historic institutions. And while racism and oppression are a contributing factor to black culture and art, not every moment of black history is linked to pain and struggle. This is something that Jojo Sonubi, a 24-year-old Graphic Designer, and his friend Tania Nwachukwu, 25, who works as a poet have decided to challenge with their visual archive Black in the Day.

They’ve taken matters into their own hands by accurately documenting a past that is too often forgotten. “There are two sides to life, we want to show that despite the struggles that people may go through they still lived, they still had good times and togetherness and family,” says Sonubi. He hopes that as they keep collecting stories the archive will become a research tool.

“A photographer’s view is just observational. If you have the actual person telling their own story you’re putting the power back in their hands. When it’s personal it's so organic and authentic” – Jojo Sonubi

When we think of black history we think about slavery and the American civil rights movement. Similarly, when we think of British history we think of monarchs, of wars won, of empire. The experiences of black Britons are largely excluded from both. You might hear of the Windrush generation, particularly around the time of Notting Hill, but might not have heard the stories of how young Jamaicans played dominoes and drank rum on the boats they excitedly boarded after the government invited them to come and work to help Britain rebuild. These are things I mostly heard while looking at framed pictures in my grandparents’ house.

“Our tagline is ‘A visual journey through the black British experience’. It’s to say ‘this is your people, this is how we used to party’, this is what we used to do as a family, this is how this area used to look when you first moved in,” he explains. “A photographer’s view is just observational. If you have the actual person telling their own story you're putting the power back in their hands. We want to facilitate that because when it's personal it's so organic and authentic. People document their own life how it truly happened”.

Find out more about the project here