As Told To Me by Maleeka
I am Maleeka Holloway, born and raised in Atlanta, GA. I’m a Grady Baby, even though most people think I’m from Alabama, I’m actually from Atlanta. My family is from Selma, and Atlanta so I spent a lot of time in Alabama growing up. My story started once I started preparing for college. When I started applying for college, I really didn’t want to leave the state of Georgia. But, like the rest of us, I had to find a way to pay for college. I did get the HOPE scholarship, but it wasn’t a full ride. I needed to make some decisions.
It’s funny because A Different World is what we thought HBCUs were, but it wasn’t all the way true. I come from an HBCU family, and I saw every side of what it meant to attend an HBCU. That made me want to try something different, but it’s funny how God works. After bickering back and forth with my family, I decided to finally give in and I applied to attend college at Alabama A&M University. I got a full ride, an academic scholarship so that’s all it took for me to make my mind up! Next thing you know, I was enrolled at AAMU, living on The Hill, in Huntsville, AL.
When I started attending AAMU, my boyfriend at that time was a few years ahead of me. My childhood taught me the importance of staying active so I was very involved in church and school. From sun up to sun down, 7 days a week, I was busy! I wanted to be in SGA, join the gospel choir, I wanted to do things to stay active. But my boyfriend at the time was very discouraging and didn’t want me to do anything.
At that time I was working fast food, and that’s when I met the guy I end up marrying. I was only 20 when I got married. I didn’t know much about him. He was from Huntsville, and that’s about it! My family was so upset when they found out I got married. They exclaimed:
Who is this?
Are you pregnant?
Get an anulment!Maleeka’s family reaction to her sudden marriage
I didn’t even tell anybody that I was married. Then, the shit got real.
I ignored the red flags.
There were too many red flags to count, but there were some that stood out in particular:
- His girlfriend at the time told me that he is a good person, but if you piss him off he will beat your ass. She said, “I want him, but if he wants you then hey this is what it is.”
- He was unsure of himself, so that made me unsure of myself. His mom was abusive, and I thought oh — I could fix him!
- He wasn’t controlling, per say. But he would say I cared more about my family than I cared about him. Well, I let him “be the man.” I was stroking his ego and this was separating me from people that I cared about.
He cheated and had a baby on us (me and my daughter), and almost everything happened between us — except for death. We were together for 4.5 years, almost 5 years.
One day, my daughter and I were riding and we were joking around. I told her,
I’m a tell your daddy that you’re going to get me.
My daughter replied:
If daddy ever touches you again, I will kill him.
She was only 3-4 years old.
I laughed it off at the time, but when I got home I closed the door and wept. I cried so hard, it was the final straw. I knew my daughter deserved better. I couldn’t believe she even had that thought. What was I showing her? What else has she already been exposed to?
Soon after this incident, I found the courage to leave. I filed for divorce, and that chapter of my life finally came to a close.
Maleeka’s Golden Advice
To the women, go after being the person that you’ve always seen yourself being. Whoever that is– go after that.
It could be CEO of a role, head of the meat department at Publix, go after that and don’t stop until you get it.
Make your decisions off the person you want to be, not who you are.
You are that, and you’re still getting there. You know who you are, you’re actually doing it.
It feels like I just woke up, and one day— I was here.
Fun Facts About Maleeka:
Maleeka’s Zodiac Sign is Pisces, and her favorite hobby is traveling and having new experiences!
Maleeka’s journey to entrepreneurship was fueled by her own personal battle with domestic violence.
Today, Maleeka Holloway resides in Atlanta, GA with her daughter. She is a Published Author, and Founder & CEO of The Official Maleeka Group — a full-service Branding & Public Relations Agency, with a client roster boasting of some of the nation’s top talent, and top media coverage.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and here on Giselle Ave., we believe in the power of sharing your story to find your own voice, and to be heard.
We value the voices of women like Maleeka, that have found their own personal power by rewriting their own story. If you or someone you know is battling with Domestic Violence, please call the National Domestic Violence hotline, or dial 1.800.799.SAFE (7233).