Trinidad-born rapper and recipient of this year’s BET Best Female Hip Hop artiste award Nicki Minaj chipped down Jerningham Avenue in Belmont Trini-style yesterday during the filming of her latest video, Pound the Alarm. Minaj and her team spent most of the morning filming at a house in Cadiz Road, Belmont, away from the glare of the media and the public. At around 3 pm, Minaj was driven down Jerningham Avenue in a black Range Rover, and was greeted by her fans. She changed into a black Carnival costume with vibrant red plumage at the National Carnival Commission (NCC) office, touched up her makeup, and joined delighted masqueraders for the staged street parade.
The masqueraders, who had been hyped by a performance by soca star Machel Montano before Minaj arrived, stopped dancing and attempted to get closer to the hip hop star. “This is a video shoot, this is not time for autographs,” an amused Montano told them. Minaj eventually joined Montano on the platform at the back of the truck, where the duo performed together. At around 6 pm Minaj, her crew and the extras arrived at the Queen’s Park Savannah. Onlookers were invited to join the shoot. Bunji Garlin and Faye Ann Lyons performed their Carnival 2K12 hits, while Minaj ‘wine down’, illiciting screams from fans. After the shoot she interacted with fans.The award-winning artiste arrived in Trinidad on Tuesday to recruit 500 extras for the Carnival-themed video. Screening was done by High Definition Video in the Paddock area of the Queen’s Park Savannah. Twenty of the frontline models in costumes were provided by Tribe, while other bandleaders provided models for the casting.
US video director Benny Boom, who was contracted by 29-year-old Minaj to create a “huge, grand pop video in Trinidad,” said everything went well. Boom said his crew was well assisted by the NCC and the T&T Entertainment Company. He said the production will benefit both Minaj and T&T, as the video will represent T&T to the world through Carnival, the people, the colours and how the people showcased themselves. Born Onika Tanya Maraj, Minaj lived in St James until she was five, when she migrated to New York with her mother and brother.
(With reporting by Aba Luke)