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Friday, 5 November 2010

Minaj gets wining lesson

Nicki Minaj performs during

the Localize Itt Concert on Saturday

Internationally acclaimed rapper Nicki Minaj left Trinidad over the weekend with a greater appreciation for the country of her birth, a love for local delicacies like pholourie, roti, and red mango, and a lesson on how to do a good Trini wine. Minaj, a St James native, who was christened Onika Maraj, arrived in Trinidad last Friday to headline the Localize Itt Concert, held at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain, on Saturday. Donning a fashionable red and white ensemble with red and gold accessories, leopard-print ankle-boots and sporting a blonde wig, the 25-year-old took time out of her 40-minute performance to allow fans to help her sharpen her wining skills, as she admitted that she had not yet mastered the indigenous dance. “Show me how to wine!” she said. Her request was answered instantaneously as several excited fans volunteered to show her how it’s done.
A young male, clearly overjoyed and eager to display his wining skills and steal a hug from the super-star, shocked even Minaj, as he acrobatically gyrated on his head. “Stop it! Stop it!” she jokingly told him, as loud cheers and applause erupted from the crowd. The self-proclaimed businesswoman who was a drama major at New York City’s LaGuardia High School of Music and Art also called on patrons to work hard to achieve all their dreams and encouraged female fans to “get their own.” “Go to school and stay in school. Ladies don’t depend on a man for anything. Get your own,” she declared. Minaj worked the stage with confidence and pizzazz but disclosed that she was “emotional” as she was happy to be performing in her native country.
“This is the most emotional show I’ve ever had to do,” she said.

“I don’t even know how I’m holding up. It’s been a long time coming back here and you guys have treated me so beautifully. I really couldn’t ask for anything more.”Opening her performance with Itty Bitty Piggy, Minaj had young and not-so-young fans singing along, word for word. Well-known for her trademark over-exaggerated vocal inflections, Minaj made smooth transitions singing her verses on popular international hip hop and R&B tracks, including DJ Khaled’s All I Do Is Win, Drake’s Up All Night, Sean Kingston’s Letting Go (Dutty Love), Trey Songz’s Bottom’s Up, and Young Money’s Bed Rock. Her popular hit Your Love and the newly released single, Right Through Me, went down well with the crowd, who showed Minaj that her earlier fear of “people not being familiar with my songs” was definitely not the reality.

Assuring that she was “almost positive” that she would be back on local soil in 2011 for Carnival for the first time, Minaj then closed at around 10.55 pm with Kanye West’s popular track, Monster, and waved goodbye to a crowd which, she said, “welcomed me with open arms.” The fun was not over yet, however, as soca artistes such as Makamillion and the Millionaire Family, Buffy, and Soca Monarch winners JW and Blaze delivered energetic and spirited performances. Earlier, patrons got another potent taste of local culture when D Project Records artistes Nebula 868, Judah, Terri Lyons and 3Suns took the stage, representing the red, white and black to the fullest. Local dancehall artiste Squeezy Rankin also came in for high praise from the crowd with his song Nah Play We Tune, in which he called on DJs, and Sport Minister Anil Roberts, to ensure that more local content is played on radio.


Promoter of the Localize Itt Concert and D Project Records CEO, Darryl Braxton, told the T&T Guardian that he was pleased with Minaj’s performance as well as the event’s turnout. “I think it flowed well. Nicki’s performance was good and it also served to showcase our local performers. I think the show was nice and clean incident-free. It was nice to see the young people come out. “I think for what it was and the fact that so many different things were going on that could have deterred people from coming, I was satisfied with the turnout.”

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