By Victoria Falk, CAW Exclusive
Trinidadian-born, Carol Maraj, is the mother of world-renowned rap artist Onika Tanya Maraj – Petty, most known as Nicki Minaj.
Although Ms. Maraj is more easily recognizable when seen in public beside her famous daughter, she has indeed developed a name for herself, in her own right. Ms. Carol Maraj is an accomplished woman. She is a singer, songwriter, playwright, author, motivational speaker, women’s advocate, and founder of The Carol Maraj Foundation.
The month of October is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States, a time to reflect on the needs of women and domestic violence issues. Ms. Carol Maraj, a domestic violence survivor, understands that the plight of domestic violence victims needs to be addressed all year round.
Listen to an interview with Carol Maraj on “The Carol Maraj Foundation” below:
Listen to an interview with Carol Maraj on “Supporting Haiti” below:
Ms. Maraj has spoken publicly about her experience with domestic violence. She reportedly got married at the age of 20-years-old and emigrated to New York at the age of 24. Ms. Maraj openly shared that she experienced extensive abuse and feared for her life when her husband tried to kill her by burning down the house.
But Ms. Maraj triumphed over her past and used her story to help motivate and encourage other women who have experienced domestic violence. Ms. Maraj discussed her song and book of the same name, “Living My Pain.” During an exclusive interview, she told Caribbean American Weekly that the book and song “…signify that you now understand who you are and are leaving the pain behind.”
Carol Maraj wants victims of domestic violence to know that they can leave the abuse behind. “You’re never in a situation too long that you can’t make a change. At any given time, someone can say, I was not made for this. There is better for me,” Ms. Maraj told Caribbean American Weekly. “Any time one ends an abusive life, one can wake up and choose a suitable life – a life they were created for,” stated Maraj. She shared advice for female victims of domestic violence and advice for abusive male partners. Maraj wants women to say to themselves, “I was born for greatness. There are new horizons to pursue. Ms. Maraj wants abusive male partners to remember that “manhood is not based on how well you control your woman or how your woman succumb to you. A real man loves and protects his woman – he is the wind beneath her wings,” she explained.
Carol Maraj shared that she “wants to give back to the country of her birth. She believes it is her calling to serve women in Trinidad and Tobago and beyond who are victims of abuse. But her advocacy work does not stop there. Carol Maraj’s heart goes out to all vulnerable women, and thus, the plight of encamped Haitian women caught her attention. “Because of the crisis in Haiti, I think about the women who are in camps. When we have a crisis, people tend to be disordered and can be taken advantage of, especially women. Maraj stressed the importance of protecting encamped Haitian women from rape, sexual abuse, and sex trafficking. She wants to help protect women by helping to improve the situation in Haiti. She said, “I don’t just want to send money to Haiti. I want to help the farmers grow food; help build wells.” Carol Maraj stated she has contacts in Haiti who are doing groundwork with the farmers to grow food and help gain greater access to clean water because currently, Haitian have to walk a long distance to get access to clean water.
Ms. Maraj also said that she is raising funds for Haiti through a benefit concert and is collecting donations through her Foundation’s website:
www.thecarolmarajfoundation.org. The Foundation was created in 2012 to assist vulnerable women who have been affected by domestic violence issues to become self-sufficient. If you would like to support Carol Maraj’s Haitian Relief efforts, visit the website and send a message indicating that you wish to contribute.