This year’s Notting Hill Carnival was cancelled for the first time in its 54 year history, due to COVID-19 health concerns. Despite this, one man took to the streets of Notting Hill during the bank holiday weekend to masquerade alone: Michael Styles.
Styles is a hair stylist, and owns his own eponymous salon on Willesden High Road. He also runs ‘Save a London Life’, which aims to educate and aid young people affected by knife crime and violence in London, taking them off the streets to learn skills in the beauty and barbering industry.
However, on 31 August this year, Michael Styles was a lone masquerader. He played mas in a costume made by UCOM carnival band, to music provided by the young and upcoming DJ TT. Beginning on Ladbroke Grove, he followed the Notting Hill Carnival route, walking it twice and enjoying his own personal carnival celebration.
Styles said that he had planned to go to Carnival with a small group of friends, regardless of its cancellation. People had laughed and mocked, and all the others who were meant to join him dropped out before the day – so he determined that he would go alone. Styles described the experience as, “Spiritual and uplifting,” and said, “God was with me” – thus one would presume that he did not feel alone.
Since his bold, lone masquerade, Styles has received overwhelming worldwide support. Humbled by the experience, he said that he is, “Grateful for all the love”. Many shared pictures and videos of him on social media, some also sending gifts.
Styles would be even more grateful to receive funding and sponsorship for his charitable organisation, ‘Save a London Life’. If you are in a position to give support, please do get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.