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An American idol in Paris

While on my school’s French exchange program last month, a number of the students had an opportunity to see Nicki Minaj’s Pinkprint Tour at the Le Zénith concert hall in Paris. I have been a huge Minaj fan for a long time, so finally getting to see her live (especially in Paris) was something I was really looking forward to.

The audience at the concert consisted of mostly French teenagers. Going into the concert, I didn’t really know what to expect because of the language barrier. Although most French people learn at least some English in school, I doubted that they would understand what Minaj said between songs, let alone her lyrics.

During the concert, the Parisian teens acted quite similarly to most American crowds. The venue held the same wave of cellphones taking videos, and the crowd still cheered while she was talking, even though everything she said was in English. The French audience also surprisingly knew every word to all of the songs that she performed, which is impressive considering that Minaj’s raps are tongue-twisters even for many native English speakers.

I did notice a few differences in the way this crowd acted compared to most American teens at similar concerts. I saw more people dance than I had at similar American shows, where a large majority of the attendees are usually either standing still or buried in their phones.

Perhaps the reason they took so much joy in Minaj and her music, whether they understood the lyrics or not, was because they were able to feel what the music means beyond the lyrics. They knew when to dance and when to cry.

As for the American high school students I was with, we all had a great time and felt lucky to be there.

“It was very interesting to see all of the people who were not American in the audience singing along to her words. We had so much fun and it was an amazing experience,” Kelah Winfield, said.

Brian Tank is a sophomore at Nichols School.