Levi Roots hits out at call to move Notting Hill Carnival

The musician and chef said it was “not the first time” politicians had tried to move the event.

Dragons’ Den success story Levi Roots has hit out at attempts to move the Notting Hill Carnival in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

The chef and musician first began selling his famed Reggae Reggae Sauce at the carnival in west London in the early 90s and sponsored the event in recent years.

He accused Minister for London Greg Hands, who represents the nearby Chelsea and Fulham constituency, of trying to stop it because it is “controlled by Caribbean people”.

Earlier this month London Mayor Sadiq Khan rejected a request by Mr Hands to consider moving the location because of its close proximity to Grenfell Tower.

Roots told the Press Association: “It’s not the first time, it’s always been under threat, it’s just another excuse.

“A few years ago they were talking about putting it in Hyde Park and it’s always this reason to try and stop it because it’s a Caribbean festival controlled by Caribbean people.”

The call to move the event prompted an angry response from some quarters, including London rapper Stormzy, who called Mr Hands a “scumbag” for making the suggestion.

He tweeted: “Look at this scumbag tryna using the Grenfell tragedy for their ‘get rid of carnival’ agenda. We ain’t buying it mate.”

Sailing – Clipper Round the World Race Preview – St Katharine Docks
Levi Roots (Scott Heavey/PA)

Roots said: “You cannot have a million people in one place and you don’t get trouble in there.

“I cannot understand why they are expecting this to be the squeakiest clean no-violence event. It’s absolutely impossible.”

The Jamaican-born businessman, 59, was speaking as he promoted a new compilation album of some of his favourite reggae hits.

The record features tracks from Bob Marley, Maxi Priest and Shaggy as well as two tracks by Roots who credits his business success to the song he performed on the BBC show in 2006.

The Mobo-nominated musician said: “Music has always been the greatest part of my life especially when people saw me on Dragons’ Den all those years ago.”

“It was the music that brought the attention I think I would have come a cropper if I didn’t have the guitar.”

:: Levi Roots Presents Reggae Reggae Hits is out July 21 on BMG.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access