Jamaicans in sync with Beyoncé

Entertainment

Jamaicans in sync with Beyoncé

BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, August 03, 2020

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SYCHRONISED swimmer Nicole Chin Shue and members of Portland's Island Aquatics Synchro Club added some Jamaican flavour to Beyoncé's Mood 4 Eva from the visual album Black Is King.

Black Is King, released on Friday, was written and executive produced by the American singer-songwriter. It is being streamed on Disney +.

“Jamaica will benefit from the exposure from this movie. We're going to be put on the map once again for a sport that does not get a lot of recognition. It is a predominantly white sport, so the exposure will take us very far,” Chin Shue --- principal of the Ocho Rios-based Sync or Swim --- told the Jamaica Observer on the weekend.

The 32-year-old said she was informed of the project in September 2019 by her California-based manager.

“My manager, Mary Ramsey, reached out to me by e-mail saying, 'An award-winning Grammy artiste is seeking deep skin toned synchronised swimmers for a music video'... I wasn't pushing for anything because I'm doing my private lessons swimming here. She again reached out to me a couple days after, pushing it... saying: Nicole, I think you should look into this. I would really like if you could be here for it. I said: 'Okay. You could submit me,' “ she said.

Chin Shue said she learned days after it was a project involving “Queen Bey”.

“I mentioned that there's a team in Portland with a couple of girls that could be part of it... they got in touch with them and they booked the gig as well... So five girls from Portland and myself were in the project,” she continued.

The Olga Novokshchenova-coached Island Aquatics Synchro Club members were between age seven and 18. The team comprised Micah Wilson, Nyouka Baugh, Ajoni Llewellyn, Laila Bailey, and Joydayne White.

The two-day shoot took place in Beverley Hills, California.

“The girls were very professional. I was proud of them... They were more excited than nervous as they were used to performing, but this was a different setting. I told them it's professional, you have to pay attention; you have to make sure you get it right,” she said.

According to the career swimmer, Beyoncé showed up on day-two of the project.

“The second day, we did make-up and everything. She ran over to the girls and greeted them. She was very maternal. She was ecstatic. 'I'm so proud of you and so proud of the work that you guys are doing, and you guys are going to inspire so many little girls. Continue doing what you're doing. Girls from all over the world are here to do this project,' “ she said.

Beyoncé's mom and children were also present at the shoot.

The veteran artistic swimmer said she got an opportunity to speak one-on-one with the 24-time Grammy-winning singer.

“I told her thank you for the opportunity and allowing us to be here. She said the she understood the challenges of being a person of colour in the industry to make a living, but we should never give up,” said Chin Shue.

This is not Chin Shue's first time on the silver screen. She was featured in the 2016 Hollywood flick Hail, Caesar! starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Jonah Hill and Scarlett Johansson. It made US$63.6 million at the box office.

“She [Scarlett] actually played the mermaid in the scene we were in. It was very historical because there was 32 synchronised swimmers in the pool at that time, and they've never had a production like that before. It was shot in the Sony Studios in California. That was my first movie,” said Chin Shue.

She also appeared in Jane the Virgin and an episode of Nat Geo Wild: Humans vs Dolphins.

Chin Shue started synchronised (artistic) swimming at age 10. She was part of Jamaica's first national team, which participated in Aruba in 1998.

“I've been doing this for 21 years,” she said.

The former Immaculate Conception High School student said she migrated to Florida in 2002. Since then, she competed with Miami Waves and has been part of synchronised swim club Aqualillies.

She relocated to Jamaica in 2016 and operates Sync or Swim.

She had some advice for young swimmers aspiring for greatness.

“Never give up. Follow your passion, no matter what. Don't follow what people say, if it's something that means something to you, don't give it up.”


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