Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 21st 2014 Contents Nyerere Haynes
A stroke of spontaneity at the Soca Monarch Semifinals
changed Benjai's fate for the rest of the Carnival season as
his underwear performance of his song Come Out To Play
saw him through, much to the delight of female fans.
"The boxers thing was spontaneous, I actually decided to
do it backstage at the Semis. Carnival is all about expression
and freedom to be yourself. honestly, I didn't expect the reac-
tion to be so crazy. When I finally saw the YouTube video I say
nah, that camera man was in the middle of the stage and get
the whole thing from a low angle too," said Benjai.
The video went on to garner thousands of hits and sealed
the deal for Benjai. Immediately he capitalised on the opportu-
nity that he created for himself and went on to a bumper sea-
son-and now to gigs solidly booked till November. Shows that
followed the Semis saw crowds of women calling on Benjai to
derobe. It's quite possible that he underestimated the thirst
levels of Trini women. At Kairi People's Different while doing
his thing women started stuffing money down his boxer
shorts. As fast as they put money he placed it at the DJ con-
sole because he didn't plan on keeping the dough. He intended
to give the money back to the ladies and by the end of his per-
formance he collected 1700 dollars.
"Performing in front of thousands of people just doesn't
phase me. I don't get nervous at all. When I attended High
School in New Jersey a teacher told my mother that I should
get into drama because I had a skitzo personality. My mom
only heard the word skitzo and immediately started wonder-
ing what kind of trouble I was getting myself into but that
wasn't the case. I was one of those kids that would always be
smiling and trying to make people feel happy. Plus I was from
the Caribbean so I stood out because of my accent and man-
nerisms. So now I'm doing what comes natural I don't feel any
way about it, I'm comfortable with my sexuality and I'll push
that envelope once it's not illegal," said Benjai.
But from early on in the season he was missed on the fete
scene and many supporters noticed and wondered what was
going on. His songs were in rotation but no sign of Benjai.
"I decided not run down anything this year. The focus was
on getting in shape. I spent a lot of time at the gym working
with my personal trainer Oswald Andrews who had me on a
strict workout and diet regimen. My diet has changed drasti-
cally and includes mostly lean grilled meat and salads. I train
four days a week, two hours a day and it's only just started.
The results I'm seeing makes me want to push harder, 2015
will see a whole new Benjai," said the singer.
The guy just doesn't let anything phase him; point in case
being a picture of the singer circulating the net wearing his
"I heard about the picture, then I saw it and realised that
was a shot I took of myself in a gym in San Fransisco. I just
finished working out and took a picture to get some feeback
from a friend and that was it. It wasn't even a sexual thing. I
feel comfortable in my skin and I'm not ashamed of my body
or my sexuality. If nudity was legal I wouldn't feel anyhow
about performing like that," said Benjai.
Having competed in the Soca Monarch semi-finals nine
times and the finals seven times he has decided to bring a
close to that part of his career; citing that besides foe having
outgrown the competition he feels as though he has not been
"The competition stage of my life is over. I'm too advanced
now and the thing is so are some of the performers that
enter. I love the artform and the opportunity that Soca
Monarch offers but I have other things that I want to accom-
plish. I want to focus more on performing internationally and
develop my skills as an actor. I want to do movies and I'm will-
ing to start with any role and work my way up," said Benjai.
Friday, March 21, 2014 • Issue 132
THREAD ID, Golden Doors Plaza POS
AMILLIE COUTURE, Simplicity Mall, Murray St. Woodbrook
BCO Style Lead-Risanne M.
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