Many of you are familiar with the Hip Hop Barbie Nicki Minaj, well we had the honor of doing an exclusive interview with the woman who started it all, her mother Ms. Carol Maraj.
Ms. Maraj gave birth to Onika Maraj aka Nicki the Baby on December 8th, 1982 in Saint James, Trinidad as well as her two sons (one older and one younger, leaving Nicki the middle girl child).
The apple didn’t fall far from the tree as mom is also a singer/songwriter. Carol took up Gospel music, as this soulful god fearing music is what got her through some trying times of domestic violence. Take a look into the life of Celebrity mom Carol Maraj.
Tell us about Carol Maraj. What are three words that you would use to best describe yourself.
Three words I would use to best describe myself are Strong, Loving and God-Fearing.
I always knew I didn’t want to have a big family like my mother. I wanted at least three children.
As I come from a large family of 5 boys and 6 girls.
Many know you as Nicki Minaj’s mom; does Onika get her bubbly, fun loving, yet strong personality traits from you?
I would say Onika got those traits from me; the fun loving, strong personality because her father he doesn’t have those characteristics.
What is one of the most memorable moments you have shared with your children?
One of the most memorable moments I have shared with my children was the first time Onika received an award, her first BET Award for Best New Artist. Our eyes were all glued to the television and it was a change… it was something unbelievable and really touching that we all shared together.
(Nicki Minaj at the 2010 BET Awards)
Did you ever imagine that Onika would have been such a huge success?
Although Onika was very talented, (she would make up songs and just freestyle from the very tender age of 8/9, she would beat her drums (using the table as a drum), I never thought that she would become a huge icon as she is right now. It’s still kind of inconceivable to me.
What is one thing that you have always enforced/taught in your children?
I always encouraged my children to have faith in God, because it takes faith to move the hands of God. The little help I might be able to give them, faith in God highly supersedes that and with all life’s changes and ups and downs and trails and tribulations, I just wanted them to do as I did or as I do. Trust in God, because it’s only God that will help us through. So it’s a great gift to give to your children.
I was encouraged to launch the foundation because being a victim, a survivor of domestic violence, I thought about the women who’s lives I could change through my story but not just my story by various programs that would help enhance their lives and bring financial stability to them.
As a survivor what are some of the signs that a woman should look out for in a potentially abusive relationship? What were some of the signs that you knew you were in an abusive relationship?
A few signs a woman can look out for are when he’s constantly telling her what to do and ignoring her opinions. When he tells her who to speak to and what she ought to wear. It starts as simple as that. When it really hit home that I was in an abusive relationship was when he threw tantrums and ranted and raved for hours when I would return home from going out with my girlfriends; even when I was out with them the nasty texts and threats I was receiving via cellphone, I knew exactly then that I was in an abusive relationship. It was an eye-opener.
(In the video below Nicki Minaj speaks briefly with Wendy Williams on how far the abuse actually went)
Going through domestic violence is always hard on the victim, but what about the family? How did the abuse affect your children/family?
Well through the abuse I realized that my daughter became angry and she became like a no nonsense kind of person, I guess if she didn’t have that strong image she thought she would fall the same victim like her mother, my son became introverted and withdrawn, sometimes he would pick up and buy beers, he became very very silent.
What steps did you take to heal with the family after the abuse and how can other women help heal with their families?
The first thing I did when I was tired of going through it, I had to ask my children to forgive him. Only when we started letting go and forgiving is when we were able to heal. I would say to other women you have to find it in you to let go, stop blaming, stop holding onto bitterness, because bitterness is going to delay your healing.
So I see the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and that you do in fact sing. You recently released a Gospel song entitled “God’s Been Good”, tell us what sparked this song and what it means to you?
God’s Been Good reflects on where he brought me from and I wanted to remind others in the verses when the woman had cancer and she found out she had been healed, I wanted to remind others that God is still in the miracle working business and the young man who was suppose to die from the drive by but didn’t, I wanted the young man to know that even when they are unaware God is protecting he’s still there. We are currently releasing my new single “Endless”.
Will you be releasing a full Gospel album and will Nicki be featured on one of your upcoming tracks? Now that would be a duet to see as you both are identical twins!
I’m about to finish my gospel album and Nicki I’m trusting God that one day she will feature on a song. Because I’m not ruling it out. Well that will be something to see because people are always saying that we are identical twins! That would definitely be something to see!
We know you are on a mission to help prevent domestic violence in anyway possible, what are some ways in which our readers can help the cause?
We are presently focusing on doing these makeovers, visiting shelters in the Tri State area and doing makeovers. Making these women over is a great incentive; it’s the beginning of raising their self-esteem.
So we like people to donate maybe for one woman, for two for three, however many women you would like to help. Help to bring to a point of enhancement.
Right now we are looking for people who could open their shops on maybe a Monday to host a makeover program and they will get a tax write off. We have so many shelters and so many women who are waiting to get their hair done and their nails done and to see these smiles and to hear these words of empowerment when they look at their new look its really mind boggling and its helps you want to do more!
So just have the experience share this experience with me, knowing you made it possible for a woman to see herself as the strong woman that’s been hidden all the while inside, just partnering with the Carol Maraj Foundation to do something like that is everlasting, it will never leave your memory. To see the tears of joy, to see the difference from Slouch to their strong stance when they are made over there is a new outlook and a new mentality is being birthed.
We are looking for beauticians and people who will open up their shops to host a make over event, we are looking for donors who will say I will donate $35 for one woman, I’m going to send $100 for three women, we are looking for that type of response.
We look forward to hearing your music and seeing the stop to domestic violence through the Carol Maraj Foundation!
For more information on the Carol Maraj Foundation and how you can help, please visit http://www.carolmarajfoundation.org/
Thank you for your time Carol!!