London is one of the most diverse cities in the world. It’s home to global citizens from all over the world—making it a truly international city. It’s also home to more than 800,000 British Jamaicans, those who were born in Jamaica or who are of Jamaican descent. Brixton, a multiethnic community in south London, has become an enclave for many Jamaicans. (Jamaica was a British colony between 1655 and 1962.) Over the years, Brixton has become the spot where Jamaicans can find everything that reminds them of home—spices, music and culture.
Jamaican-owned clothing boutiques, record shops and restaurants have opened all over the area. People like K, owner of 24-hour jerk shack Ultimate Jerk Center, have worked to keep Jamaican culture alive through the years. The Ultimate Jerk Center has become popular with younger crowds as an unofficial after-party spot.
The Brixton Market, a community street market, is lined with vendors blasting the latest hits coming out of Jamaica. The market has played such a major role in embracing London’s Caribbean cultural experience that in 2010 it was awarded heritage protection. (That means it’ll never be converted into high-rise, luxury condos!)
Once a crime-riddled and troubled neighborhood, Brixton has undergone redevelopment and is quickly becoming a popular destination for tourists. Many are concerned that the heartbeat of the Caribbean community will lose the flair that’s made it a home away from home for many. But projects such as Great Brixton and Our Brixton pledge to keep the community diverse and true to its original mission. Brixton will always be London’s “little Jamaica.”