Watch: Jamaica Day celebrations in Victoria Square & Bullring in Birmingham

Thousands gathered across the city to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Jamaican independence. Our reporter Richard Gullick joined the party and met up with some of the community

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I’m here in Birmingham for the city’s celebration of Jamaica’s 60th Independence Day. A very special day here in Birmingham as the city celebrates Jamaica’s 60th Independence day. A day to honour Jamaican heritage and culture, as well as observe its vital role in the history of the region. Lots going on to mark the occasion, and all happening with the backdrop of the Commonwealth Games.

It is a huge day for the Jamaican community here in Birmingham, and the backdrop of the Commonwealth games holds a special symbolic significance for the festivities. It offers an opportunity to showcase the progress that Jamaica and its diaspora have made since independence to the rest of the Commonwealth.

Jamie-Lee Musician at Jamaica Day celebrations in BirminghamJamie-Lee Musician at Jamaica Day celebrations in Birmingham
Jamie-Lee Musician at Jamaica Day celebrations in Birmingham

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There are all sorts of celebrations, from the civic flag raising ceremony here in Victoria Square - followed by a Grand Gala Fundraising Dinner and Awards - to the carnival at Bullring and Grand Central - many great musical acts and prestigious members of the city’s Jamaican community are here to join in the fun. The Jamaican community has a rich history here in Birmingham, and are a vital part of the tapestry in the formation of the city we have today. Making it their home in the post world war period, they were drawn here by the promise of work, but also felt akin to the British based on our shared history, language and values.

Despite the many challenges and the discrimination they faced upon arrival, the Jamaican community persevered. Starting their own business and establishing their own communities.

But perhaps among the most notable of their many achievements would be in music, bringing sounds to the UK which are an intrinsic part of almost all popular genres. Over the years the Jamaican community has rapidly grown, and today still thrives. It has made significant contributions to the city both culturally and economically, and helped shape its unique identity.

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