Michael Daniel

Grew up together: In an undated photo, St James resident Michael Daniel poses with his cousin, Trinidad-born international superstar Oneka Maraj-Petty, known as Nicki Minaj. —Photo: Michael Daniel

The hunt is on by local and international media for the friend of a cousin of Trinidad-­born American rapper Nicki Minaj, but he’s nowhere to be found.

Keen interest was sparked in Minaj’s cousins and their friends after Minaj tweeted on Monday, “My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it and became impotent. His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied.”

The Express found Michael Daniel, 39, a cousin to Minaj, in St James, yesterday. He initially denied he was a cousin but later said he was.

“Do I look sick? I did not take any vaccine,” he said.

Daniel also said he was not aware of any post from Minaj about the friend’s medical condition until about two days ago, and when he reported to work yesterday morning.

Daniel, his brother Chris and children were relaxing at his Bournes Road, St James, home yesterday.

He said: “I’m a humble man. Would I be living in a home like this if Nicki Minaj was my cousin? Family, I am not on any make-out scene. I don’t want to be out there. Then people are looking at me funny as though I did or did not take the vaccine. I am not sure Nicki would even approve of me talking to Express, but I will go ahead. People might think I am rich if Nicki is my cousin.”

After the initial denial, Daniel admitted: “Yes. She is my cousin, but I don’t know anything about this vaccine business. I am prepared to go and live in the woods, but I am not taking any vaccine. I did research, and some people are saying you can die within three years.”

Giving a brief glimpse into the family tree, Daniel said his late father, Gordon Daniel, was the brother of Minaj’s mother, Carol Maraj.

Trying to figure out who was the cousin referenced by Minaj, Daniel said: “Maybe it’s her other cousins. She has family in the ‘Cocoa’ (an upper area in Bournes Road). She has family in Trinidad. She is from Trinidad. Maybe it’s her father’s family. But it’s not us. Nobody in this house took the vaccine. Carol Maraj is my aunt.”

Daniel also said during her childhood Minaj lived at their family home briefly.

He said: “We grew up together. She is younger than I am but we were close. We love her. We are proud of her. She visited us the last time she was here for Car­nival in 2020. She came right down the track and checked us.”

Put T&T on map

Daniel also said Trinidad and Tobago should rally around Minaj instead of shunning her.

“St James residents feel great to know she is from our hometown. She put Trinidad and Tobago on the map. She did what Bob Marley did for Jamaica. Brian Lara and Ato Boldon have done well. But Nicki kicked down doors that they could not. Today, everybody knows about our country. Trinidad and Tobago is in the international spotlight. We should rally around her.

“Why are we leaving our precious Nicki out in the rain? If she was an American, the whole of America would have supported her. I have to agree with veteran calypsonian Winston (Explainer) Henry, ‘Why are we treating our local heroes so?’,” said Daniel.


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