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Friday, April 23, 2021
Ansel Wong. Photograph By Stephen Spark

Notting Hill Carnival Ltd keeps faith with Ansel Wong

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Notting Hill Carnival organiser NHCL has affirmed in a statement to Soca News that it will not be taking any action against Board member Ansel Wong CBE.

As well as being well known in the mas band community, Wong is a member of the Notting Hill Carnival Advisory Council and a Trustee of NHCL’s parent organisation Carnival Village Trust.


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In December 2020, he was appointed chair of the Board of Brixton-based Black Cultural Archives (BCA). On 5 March, BCA said that Wong had taken a voluntary leave of absence as a result of an allegation of sexual misconduct dating back to his life prior to involvement with the BCA. Sharmaine Lovegrove has been appointed Interim Chair.

BCA spokesperson Nadine Drummond said in a statement: “We take allegations of misconduct, particularly those of a sexual nature extremely seriously and in accordance with Black Cultural Archives’ safeguarding policy the issue is being investigated thoroughly and independently.


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“As such, the Chair has taken a leave of absence from his position to allow the investigation to continue unimpeded and is cooperating fully with the Board.” Soca News understands that the matter has been referred to the Metropolitan Police as a matter of course.

The allegation appears to date back to the early 1970s and has been known about within the Carnival community for many years. It was made in a long and widely circulated letter written by a well-known cultural activist.


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NHCL said in its statement to Soca News that the letter made “numerous allegations without detailing any substance or plausible evidence. In the absence of any detailed information or substantiated evidence the Board considered that it was not necessary or proportionate to ask Ansel to stand down as a Director.”

Trinidad-born Wong came to the UK in 1965 and chaired the West Indian Students Union in the early 1970s before becoming education co-ordinator at the Ahfiwe School in Brixton, an ILEA-funded  Black supplementary school. While known for radical politics he has nevertheless held numerous positions in local, regional and national authorities. Within Notting Hill Carnival, Wong has been a prominent but sometimes divisive figure and played a leading role in the unseating of Claire Holder from her leadership position. More recently, he initially supported the grassroots Reclaim Our Carnival movement but later appeared to disavow the group and controversially accepted a place on the NHCL Board. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to arts and culture, in October 2020.


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