- (Photograph: Paul Stephens)
- ( Photograph: Paul Stephens)
Carol Maraj could have been satisfied with giving birth to the Hip Hop sensation known to the world as Nicki Minaj, but the superstar's mother has much more to offer the world.
Carol has plans to showcase her own musical abilities while praising God and helping victims of domestic violence along the way. For years, the world has experienced the hard hitting vocals of Nicki Minaj, 31, who has successfully released two number one albums and become the most-charted female rapper in the history of the Billboard Hot 100.
While The New York Times named Nicki Minaj "the most influential female rapper of all time," it may have been her mother Carol's Christian faith and prayers that helped propel the Queens, N.Y. girl born Onika Maraj into an international superstar.
"My life as a Christian and believer was opened to Onika. As her career continued to thrive, she developed more concerns about life," Carol told The Christian Post. "She knew I believed in the power of prayer, therefore, she constantly called me and our pastor, to pray for different concerns she may have...I believe by her acknowledging the power of prayer, and her strong desire to tithe together with a praying mother, contributed to her success."
Although some people both in and outside of the Christian community have been critical of the outfit choices and rhymes chosen by Nicki Minaj, the rapper has never shied away from being vocal about her Christian faith. Carol does not focus on the criticism of her child, but instead believes one day her daughter will use her voice to sing for God.
"The Bible says to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old would not depart from it," Carol told CP. "I trust that one day Onika will sing unto the Father, because a seed has already been planted. Nothing is too big to God."
Nicki Minaj previously named God and her mother as her personal heroes when speaking to The Guardian two years ago, and spoke about how church saved her family from an intense domestic violence situation. The rapper has used her music as an outlet to express the pain of the violence that took place in her family, revealing there were times when she feared her father would kill her mother.
However, Carol told CP that those terrifying times ended up bringing a broken Trinidad & Tobago-bred woman who migrated to New York City closer to Jesus Christ.
"My husband was a drug user, and would usually come home to sleep or steal. Seeking guidance in my life, I went to a revival (church) service with a neighbor who invited me," Carol revealed. "During service, the preacher made an altar call. My neighbor then turned and whispered, 'God is waiting for you, Carol. He wants to restore your life.'"
Carol did more than humbly bring herself to the altar; she joined the church, got baptized and became a youth leader. While she still faced issues with abuse at home, she trusted the Lord to heal her family.
Instead of leaving her abusive husband once and for all, Carol witnessed him transform by the power of Jesus Christ.
"As I grew closer to the Lord, on my spiritual journey, I started drawing my strength from Him. The scriptures gave me hope and grace to cope with my situation," Carol told CP. "Pastors took my husband under their wings and mentored him through life and our marriage. Eventually, our marriage became less challenging because of our love for the Lord."
Although Carol was able to overcome her domestic violence situation, many people are not as fortunate. Every nine seconds, a woman in the U.S. is battered and Carol has decided to do something about it.
After she visited a domestic violence shelter and spoke to a group of young women, Carol was reminded of the pain, fear and confusion that she once felt as an abused woman. The emotional experience made her realize a calling on her own life, to create a foundation that would help women like these.
Two years ago, The Carol Maraj Foundation was born. The foundation provides encouragement, emotional support, a mobile beauty spa and financial empowerment through various programs.
The Carol Maraj foundation aims to help all women who contact the organization, both in and outside of shelters. Carol hopes to one day have her own facility to house victims of domestic violence in emergency situations, where she can offer rehabilitation training and job-readiness programs.
"The ultimate goal, however, is to be financially independent to meet all of these needs and more," she told CP.
While Carol thinks it is important for everyone to recognize the warning signs of abuse to help themselves or others in the future, she also offered an important piece of advice to people who may need help overcoming domestic violence situations.
"I think it is very important for couples to have open communication in their relationships. in addition to communication, you need to show respect for one another, and include prayers in your daily life," Carol told CP "I learned to release every area of my life to the Lord- physical, emotional, social and spiritual... And that is what I think everyone should do to help overcome any issues."
It is this mindset that has helped Carol release the pain in her life and prompted her to start singing to the Lord. Earlier this year, Carol released her song "God's Been Good" and has plans to make a full fledged gospel studio album.
"I have continuously been working on new songs in the studio, and plan to continue writing and singing," she told CP. "I intend to release at least 5 full gospel albums during my career. I also want to write a book based on overcoming the storms."
While Carol plans to have her first gospel album completed by early fall, she is not giving up on the possibility that one day she may collaborate with her famous daughter musically.
"There is a possibility," Carol told CP. "God is in control of everything."
Carol's single "God's Been Good" can be purchased from iTunes by clicking here.
A portion of the song's proceeds will be donated toward domestic violence awareness. For more information about the Carol Maraj Foundation, please visit here.