Nicki Minaj- The So Called Trini

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By Malaika Crichlow

Nicki Minaj has been one celebrity I have not wanted to write anything about because I can’t decide how I feel about her. Honestly, I really don’t know if I like her or not. The fact that she is Trini always had me reserving my initial opinion of her, waiting to see if there will be some redeeming quality appearing on the many forms of media, and I must say, most times, I am always disappointed.

The first time I noticed her, I thought her background was Jamaican because her attire was reminiscent of a dancehall queen to me, and I was shocked when they said she was Trini, but I said to myself, people are allowed to express themselves as they so wish, so I chastised myself for judging. I didn’t care for the music or the message. And don’t get me started on “Anaconda” — I wanted to scream at her, “who the hell cares what the Anaconda doesn’t want; it’s what the Kitty Kat wants that’s important, shit!”

I do love how direct she is about her opinion and how she evidently loves her fans. I admire how vocal she is if she doesn’t like something and speaks her mind instead of being timid, how she stands up for herself and her immediate family. And I really want to like how she represents for Trinidad — but I don’t. I know I have already heard the argument that she is reppin Trinidad in her own way, and not everyone reps the same way, blah, blah, blah. Oh, please. We aren’t talking about if what she is saying about Trinidad is negative but true; we are talking about her having a massive audience, opening for the VMAs with an even huger audience, and singing a song called “Trini Dem Girlz” in an accent from some other island, patting her pum pum which is not a Trini dance and doing so on a dancehall sounding rhythm. Give me a break, really.

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To folks who say well, maybe she doesn’t know how to do a Trini accent, please stop. She can do an English accent and Jamaican accent and not a Trini accent? The country where she is supposedly from, where her mother and father are from. But moving past the accent, as important as I think the accent is to my Trini culture, and how when I hear it in a store, it reminds me of home, the point is that she does nothing distinctly Trini. She never speaks about our food, fashion or music, our artists, or the most common identifier of Trinidad, our carnival.

I know many Trinis could care less about what she does whether representing the island or not. In fact, the vast majority don’t care if she does or not. Personally, I don’t care whether she represents us, but if she is going to do so, as she seemingly has been, I think it’s irresponsible to do that dishonestly to the many fans that she has. If you must tell the ‘marish and the parish’ that you are from Trinidad, please don’t do so and then behave in a manner that is obviously Jamaican culturally. We have a hard enough time letting people know we aren’t from Jamaica, or that Trinidad is not in Jamaica, so having a so-called Trini feel more comfortable performing her art in a Jamaican accent is unacceptable.

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To others who say, at least she says she’s from Trinidad, I think she should rep Trinidad the most, not in the least or just don’t rep us at all. But most of all, her fan base is too huge and may include many people who don’t know where Trinidad is for her to give a skewed view of this magnificent country. I think it’s possible that maybe she has no Trini friends, maybe she has mostly Jamaican friends and they made more of an impact, and I think it’s sad that she identifies with another culture more than her own. And as sad as that is for me, while it’s her life to live, for God’s sake, stop saying you are Trini if you really identify more with Jamaica. Besides, you will never see a Jamaican do that foolishness. Jamaicans rep Jamaica hard and they would never do this nonsense that Nicki is doing. It’s inauthentic to say the least.  That begins said “Miley what’s good?”

 

Malaika Crichlow10 Posts

Malaika Crichlow is a daughter of the twin isle of Trinidad and Tobago. She resides in Miami, Florida and has been for the past 19 years. She is an aspiring author who hopes to publish children’s books, novels on Caribbean life, and books of poetry. Writing has always been a passion and sometimes a distant dream, but always brings her unparalleled joy. When she is not writing, she is a mother, a nurse, a student, and a lover of life and laughter.

5 Comments

  • Junia Reply

    October 1, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    While I can appreciate your opinion, who are you do decide whether or not she is a “real” Trini? Correct me if I’m wrong, but was she not born in Trinidad and left when she was young? What’s the cut off age for being considered a “real” Trini? Also correct me if I’m wrong but did she not have a whole music video shot in Trinidad with a carnival theme including her wearing an (awesome) mas costume? I also believe she has talked about being Trini more than once…contrary to your comment about her never speaking about her roots. Generally I like Nicki, to say I’m a fan would be a stretch, but this article does not sit well at all. I could say much more but for now I will reserve any further comment.

     
     
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    • Malaika Crichlow Reply

      October 20, 2015 at 6:57 pm

      Thank you for your comment, although we have to agree to disagree I do appreciate the time you took to read and respond. My issue wasn’t about her representing but more specifically the authenticity of the representation and as such it is a personal opinion, as most of my articles are. although we didn’t agree on this one I hope to hear more of your thoughts on future articles.

       
       
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  • jannice oshea Reply

    October 7, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    The contents of the Minaj article totally surprised me. I’ve never thought of labeling one of my own “so called”. We are caribbean and To be caribbean should be an energy of unity. Accept, love and embrace the good and also what’s perceived as bad. We’ll take her and Rihanna if rejected, accents and all. Marissa, keep it up my dear. Enjoying the variety of your work…from a true Jamaican!

     
     
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    • BiraBiro Reply

      October 20, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      Thank you very much for the support Jannice. The team truly appreciates it and your feedback as well. The author did a follow up article on the huffington post. Check it out when you can. Have a great one! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ayana-malaika-crichlow/different-points-of-view-_b_8234526.html

       
       
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    • Malaika Crichlow Reply

      October 20, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      Caribbean unity is to me like a mosaic or patchwork quilt if you will. All our cultural differences beautifully woven together. To pretend those cultural differences do not exist and blandly label us all as one without acknowledging what makes our islands so unique is to do an injustice to the individuality of each country. As proud as I am to be from the Caribbean I am extremely proud to be TRINIDADIAN. UNAPOLOGETICALLY SO.

       
       
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