Back in the late '90s, an R&B girl band began turning heads on the music scene. Their self-titled debut album was a hit and the follow-up, The Writing's On The Wall, was released just a month before they flew over from the United States to perform at Notting Hill Carnival in 1999. The group was Destiny’s Child, and I'm pretty sure the Radio 1 stage didn't know what hit it.
It's true. Destiny's Child were there, and we found the ever-so-grainy pictures to prove it.
On the eve of the UK's landmark celebration of Caribbean culture - cancelled for 2020 but still bringing the vibes through a virtual line-up of events - our nostalgic hearts have drawn us to uncover what Carnival looked like during an era that has proven particularly influential on millennial women: the '90s. You won't be at all surprised to hear that, minus appearances from some of the biggest names in international music, it isn't too far removed from Carnivals of recent years.
To imagine that Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett (these were the pre-Michelle Williams years, remember) hopped across the Atlantic to perform on the streets of west London feels wild to even the most optimistic Destiny's Child fan. Yet just a couple of years earlier, in 1997, hip-hop powerhouses Jay Z, Busta Rhymes and Lil' Kim took to the stage, which only confirms the huge role that Notting Hill Carnival came to play in signposting music's ones to watch. The throwback playlists that'll be blaring from various sound systems this weekend will confirm as much.
Fashion and beauty trends are in evidence too, of course. A delve into the back catalogue unveiled some of the gel-heavy and hot comb hairstyles that defined the childhoods of many black British women who grew up back then. Midriff-baring halternecks reigned supreme and the bright colours we associate with traditional Carnival festivities were readily reflected on the high street – just as they are now.
You can pretend to be over the fuss of it all, but you don't fool us, friend. We know too well that the pull of '90s nostalgia is strong and we're here to feed it with these incredible images of the biggest bank holiday in the UK's cultural calendar. As we continue to muddle through the decade with no name, yearning for our rose-tinted younger years, use this weekend's festivities as an excuse to relive the glory of Notting Hill Carnival during everyone's (read: our) favourite decade.