Soca stars in Minaj video
By Leiselle Maraj Thursday, July 5 2012
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Carnival in July: Soca star Machel Montano performs with hip hop artiste Nicki Minaj during the filming of her video "Pound the Alarm" at Jerningham A...
They came in the blazing morning sun dressed in costumes, ready and excited to be a part of the video shoot for hip hop star Nicki Minaj’s “Pound the Alarm” at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain.
It was not until the glare of the setting sun filled the Grand Stand that many of the traditional characters got their chance in the spotlight.
The Trinidad-born, US-based award winning rapper came home on Tuesday to film the video for the song which is on her second studio album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. Carnival-like scenes were shot using traditional and modern masqueraders on the streets of Belmont, including Jerningham Avenue, with the finale taking place in the Savannah.
From as early as 9 am, hand selected traditional characters and bikini and beads masqueraders who took part in a casting call on Tuesday, to appear in the video, arrived at the Savannah to take part in the shoot. The very young and very old were all placed in the Grand Stand to wait for their cue to take their places. Some did not expect to spend the entire day at the Savannah and only took a few hours off from work to be there. Most did not walk with food or snacks. According to persons who turned up, they would not be paid for their appearance in the video.
Media was told they were allowed in the area but were warned that no photographs or recording of the video shoot was allowed when Minaj entered the area.
By 12 noon, masqueraders became irate sitting and waiting in their costumes and makeup. They were only provided with room temperature water which was stacked against a pole in the grand stand. Cherise Phillip, who was chosen from the casting call, however was one of the few hundred who turned up that was not fazed by the long wait. “This is a good experience,” said the self proclaimed big fan of Minaj. She said Trinidad was the ideal setting for “Pound the Alarm”, which has been described as a “Eurodance” and “House-Pop” song.
“I think the video will do a lot in terms of exposure for Trinidad. Nicki has appeal not only in America but also in Europe,” Phillip said. At about 3.15 pm, all of the modern masqueraders and some of the traditional characters, which included Jab Jabs, Dame Lorraines, Moko Jumbies, Midnight Robbers, Pierrot Grenades, Burrokeets, Fancy Indians and Fancy Sailors, were asked to head across to Jerningham Avenue. There, soca king Machel Montano and his HD dancers were atop a music truck in Carnival costumes and performed for the crowd raising their energy levels and excitement while the video crew filmed the action. At about 5 pm, Minaj joined Montano atop the truck and her song was played while filming continued.
The masqueraders and film crew returned to the Savannah at about 5.30 pm, followed by onlookers who gathered at Jerningham Avenue. The remaining masqueraders were recorded before the truck came on set. Soca couple Bunji Garlin (Ian Alvarez) and his wife, Fay Ann Lyons, who were also at the Savannah for several hours, were placed on top of the trucks and performed for a few minutes before Minaj appeared alongside the duo.
Director Benny Boom asked for the crew to play Minaj’s song but the star pouted and asked for Bunji’s music. The soca star performed “So and So” before making way for his wife who gave Minaj a taste of Carnival when all masqueraders jumped and waved to her 2012 hit “Miss Behave”. Soca star Kees Dieffenthaller and artiste Terri Lyons were also seen in the Savannah at the shoot. This portion of shooting lasted half of an hour, before Minaj climbed down from the truck and into an awaiting vehicle. She was expected to leave the country on a flight headed to New York early this morning.
Boom said the video would open up the eyes of everyone overseas to what there is in Trinidad and Tobago. He said, “I think Trinidad is challenge sometimes, tourism wise, because in the (United) States at least people don’t know it as a location for beaches and that sort of thing, so I think that in that regard, you gotta get people to look at the island for what it offers.”