Sharaya J

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Sharaya J
Background information
Birth name Sharaya Howell
Born (1984-01-17) January 17, 1984 (age 34)
Origin Honolulu Hawaii, U.S.
Genres East Coast hip hop, rap, contemporary R&B
Occupation(s) Rapper, choreographer, screenplay writer, executive producer
Years active 2001-present
Labels The Goldmind (2010–2016)
Associated acts Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Ciara, Alja Jackson, Diddy, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Hi-Hat, Jamaica Craft, Fatima Robinson, Laurieann Gibson, The-Dream, Jay-Z, Soul Diggaz, DJ Jayhood

Sharaya Howell, better known by her stage name Sharaya J, is a Hawaiian-born American female rapper and choreographer.

She is best known for her latest singles, "BANJI" and "Smash Up the Place", as well as for being the latest artist signed to Missy Elliott's label The Goldmind Inc. Prior to her work as a musician, she worked as a hip-hop choreographer and urban screenplay writer. On April 17, 2017 Sharaya J released her first body of work; a mixtape titled Dope Product.

Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Born on January 17, 1984, to a working mother and a father who served as one-fifth of hip-hop group Double XX Posse, Sharaya began her career as a hip-hop choreographer. She was featured as a dancer in French singer Mylène Farmer's 2006 tour, Avant que l'ombre... à Bercy. Her work caught the attention of high-profile musicians Diddy, Ciara, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, The-Dream, Rihanna, and earned her cameo spots on each artists' music videos (Alicia Keys' "Teenage Love Affair", The-Dream's "Shawty Is a 10"). Sharaya later went on to work with other top choreographers, Laurieann Gibson, Tanisha Scott, Fatima Robinson, Hi-Hat, and Jamaica Craft (formerly one-third of The Goldmind's act So Def).[1]

Sharaya served as a dancer for Step Up 2 the Streets and Step Up 3D.[2][3] In addition, Sharaya worked as a screenplay writer and executive producer for the short, The Real T.[3]

Music career[edit]

In January 2010, Sharaya signed to Missy Elliott's label The Goldmind Inc. and was introduced by Elliott at the New York venue Crash Mansion.[4] Later that year, Sharaya would release the Souldiggaz–produced "Green Light", featuring vocals by Elliott, and become part of Elliott's sold-out European tour. Throughout the tour, Sharaya performed the Alja Jackson–assisted "What Is Love?" On March 2, 2013, Sharaya's single, "BANJI" was released via iTunes.[5] The song features additional vocals by Missy Elliott and production by DJ Jayhood. A promotional music video for the single was released via Sharaya's official YouTube channel two days following its official release.[6]

On September 11, 2013, Sharaya was featured as magazine VIBE Vixen's "rapper to watch."[7] The magazine also officially premiered Sharaya's new music video, "Smash Up the Place"/"Snatch Yo Wigs," directed by Missy Elliott.[8] In March 2014, Sharaya alongside mentor Missy Elliott were confirmed to be features on Faith Evans' sixth studio album, Incomparable, on a record titled "I Deserve It".[9] In June 2014, Sharaya previewed her forthcoming single "Shut It Down" via a T by Alexander Wang campaign, featuring production by Aaron "Dboy" Monroe and Missy Elliott, and cameo appearances by Behati Prinsloo, Derek Blasberg and Chris Kattan, who reprised his role as the former Saturday Night Live character, Mango.[10]

On September 29, 2014, VIBE Vixen premiered the visual to Sharaya's single "Takin' It No More", which in turn samples mentor Missy Elliott's Aaliyah-dedicated single, "Take Away".[11]

Sometime in 2016, Sharaya would split terms with The Goldmind and launch her own production company, Banji Entertainment LLC. Under the Brooklyn-based imprint, Sharaya would release the Biggie-stylized number "Big", her latest release in two years.



  • Dope Product (2017)


As lead artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
(featuring Missy Elliott)
2013 TBA
"Smash Up the Place"
"Takin' It No More" 2014

As featured artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"I Deserve It"
(Faith Evans featuring Missy Elliott & Sharaya J)
2014 19 Incomparable


  1. ^ "Missy's New Artist Sharaya J "Banji" Music Video [Video]". Bossip. March 11, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Sha-Raya - On What Makes A Good Dancer (On Set of Step Up 3D)". YouTube. May 11, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Sharya Howell - IMDb > Filmography > Writer". IMDb. Retrieved March 15, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Missy Elliott promoting Sharaya @ Crash Manison". YouTube. Retrieved March 15, 2013. 
  5. ^ "iTunes - Music - Banji - Single by Sharaya J". iTunes. March 2, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Sharaya J - BANJI". YouTube. March 4, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2013. 
  7. ^ Daniels, Sharifa (September 11, 2013). "Vixen Exclusive: Sharaya J Drops New Video "Smash Up The Place/Snatch Yo Wigs" > Page 1". VIBE Vixen. Retrieved September 11, 2013. 
  8. ^ Daniels, Sharifa (September 11, 2013). "Vixen Exclusive: Sharaya J Drops New Video "Smash Up The Place/Snatch Yo Wigs" > Page 2". VIBE Vixen. Retrieved September 11, 2013. 
  9. ^ Folk, Antwane (14 March 2014). "EXCLUSIVE: Faith Evans Calls New Missy Elliott Collaboration 'A Banger', Plays 'First & Last' Game". Rated R&B. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  10. ^ "Watching The Week > Film > 3. T by Alexander Wang 2014 Campaign". HUNGER TV. 8 June 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  11. ^ Daniels, Sharifa (29 September 2014). "Sharaya J Drops 'Takin' It No More' and 'Shut it Down'". Vibe Vixen. Vibe. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 

External links[edit]