It's here! Nicki Minaj's video for her fourth single Pound the Alarm has finally been released. Filmed entirely in her (read: my) native land of Trinidad and Tobago, the video celebrates Trinidad's annual Carnival.
My favourite part of watching this video was recognizing every scene. I know where every inch of this video was filmed and that makes me happy and proud. There are so many things that Nicki got right in representing Trinidad with this video and I'd like to highlight them.
Firstly, our national instrument, the steelpan. Regardless of what the world at large thinks, the steelpan was invented in Trinidad and Tobago, and has nothing to do with stereotype of the Rastafarian playing pan on the beaches of Jamaica whatsoever. Next we have a coconut vendor selling his wares on the Queen's Park Savannah with Queen's Royal College framed beautifully in the background. Then, a beautiful montage of different aspects of life in Trinidad, from our nation bird, the Scarlet Ibis, to football in the Savannah and yes, our beautiful beaches.
Now onto the mas! The first half of the video sets up Nicki's romp through Port-of-Spain flanked by stunning costumed local ladies chipping through the streets to the Grand Stand. Naturally, Trinidad is so small that I recognize more than a few of the faces! I also loved that there were so many different races represented throughout the video. It always amuses me that people (usually Americans unfortunately) cannot wrap their heads around the idea of a multiracial society. Well, here you have it: beautiful Trinidadian women of all descents playing mas together with nary a care in the world.
And then there are our Soca stars! We have Machel Montano making a cameo, as well as Bunji Garlin and his Soca Queen Faye-Ann Lyons. There's also our traditional mas or "ole mas". We have your Jab-Jabs, Blue Devils (or Jab Molassie), Dame Lorrianes, Fancy Indians and Moko Jumbies. A dying breed, but part of our culture none the less.
But my favourite part? This awesome shot of Nicki flanked by her Trini cousins, who she invited to participate in the video with her. Any true Trini knows that you "had betta" come see your family when you get home, no matter how soon you'll be leaving again.
This is Trinidad. It isn't all of Trinidad, and it certainly isn't the full picture, but it's the Trinidad that I love. It's the Trinidad that I pined for while I was at school, and it's the Trinidad that the world should see and appreciate. There will be detractors. Trinidad has more than its own share of pessimists and misanthropes, but in light of our recent embarrassments, I'm glad that there is something to counteract the stereotype of ignorant island dwellers. Trinidad is vibrant, and full of life and culture and innovation. This is the Trinidad that we should see, promote and be proud of. This video is an amazing look at an amazing culture. I've never been so proud to see so much red white and black.
I know I'm proud to be Trini 2 de bone.
Don't forget to check out this behind the scenes look at the making of Pound the Alarm.