Published Dec 09, 2010Young Money MC Nicki Minaj originally hails from Trinidad and Tobago, but the rapper moved to NYC as a child. Still, her homeland is so proud of the association that the country recently shelled out more than $800,000 to bring her over for a concert on October 30.
The government has now come under fire for spending so much on a show. In a press conference [via HipHopDX], the country's Sport and Youth Affairs Minister, Anil Roberts, defended the massive cost, saying that it helped to promote Trinidadian culture. He believes that the concert, which was called "Localize Itt," encouraged citizens to support local goods.
He said, "Five weeks before the concert, the Localize Itt concept was only in my head and I shared it with the cabinet. Now, Localize Itt is on everyone's lips."
The concert was promoted by Daryl Braxton of the Trinidad-based D Project Records, who used the show as a way to promote artists signed to his label.
Unfortunately, the cost of booking and promoting the U.S.-based Minaj was so expensive that the government is now apparently unable to support other local events. The country paid Minaj a reported $382,000 for the show, as well as $60,343 for lodging for her and her crew. This is on top of $150,000 for advertising, $75,000 for the venue, $40,000 for other performers, plus other costs.
To make matters worse, the officials behind the concert are being accused of corruption by members of their government. MP Amery Browne claimed [via the Boombox], "All allegations are that a private individual is benefiting at the end of the day and putting money in his own pocket."
Braxton denied these allegations, calling the concert an investment, insisting that he hasn't made any money from it. He told AllHipHop.com, "By this time next year, at least four acts from Trinidad and Tobago will have a greater presence in the global music industry."
See a clip from the show below.