Editor's Note: Due to our recent efforts to upgrade TMSG, the following article was not published. We apologize for the delay, but we felt that Ms. Maharaj's life told us somethin' good.
Longtime entertainment industry executive, Elise Wright-Maharaj passed away recently following a brief battle with cancer.
Hailing from Illinois, Wright-Maharaj continued to root for the Chicago Bears even after moving to New York in 1995 to join Motown Records in the Publicity Department, where she helped to coordinate the media campaigns surrounding Motown’s 40th Anniversary Celebration, including the 1998 SuperBowl XXXII Halftime Show and a primetime ABC Television documentary.
In 2003, Wright-Maharaj was appointed to Vice President of Video Promotions for Universal Motown. Prior to that appointment, she was Senior Director of Video Promotions for Universal Motown. In both roles, Wright-Maharaj was responsible for the strategic visual marketing campaigns of several key artists, including Stevie Wonder, Nelly, India.Arie, Erykah Badu, Brian McKnight, David Banner and Akon. Wright-Maharaj went on to serve as Vice President of Marketing for Universal Motown and was responsible for developing campaigns for new and established multi-platinum stars, among them, Chamillionaire, Akon, Kem, Toni Braxton and India.Arie.
A hallmark of Wright-Maharaj’s music business career was her ability to mentor both developing artists and young industry professionals with equal generosity. She maintained an energetic focus in executing marketing logistics and preparing artists for high-profile events such as the Grammys, BET, and VH1 award performances. In 2007, Wright-Maharaj was appointed Senior Vice President of Urban Music for Universal Republic Records where she further expanded Cash Money’s international brand and launched the multi-platinum careers of Jay Sean and Kevin Rudolf. She also oversaw the campaigns for Enrique Iglesias, Lil’ Jon, and a host of other top artists.
Wright-Maharaj left Universal Republic in 2012 to open Enhance Agency, a strategic marketing firm specializing in digital marketing and social media optimization, brand management, grassroots marketing and content development. Clients included multi-platinum recording artist, Pitbull; multi-platinum and Grammy winner, India.Arie; Cash Money Content; the 2014 Climate March initiative, and Reverend Al Sharpton, to name a few. In addition, Wright-Maharaj served as a Brand and Marketing Consultant to the multicultural music festival, AfroPunk.
Prior to coming to New York, Wright-Maharaj’s marketing career trajectory began with Hoffmann-La Roche (Roche) Pharmaceuticals before joining Flowers Communications in Chicago.
Wright-Maharaj is an alumna of Spellman College (Atlanta, GA) and graduated from West Aurora High in Aurora, IL. Born on May 9, 1964 in Omaha, Nebraska, Wright-Maharaj grew up in Peoria and Aurora, Illinois. She is survived by her husband, Dhanraj Maharaj of Brooklyn, NY; her sister, Rae Allen (Answorth) of Manhattan; her brother, David Wright (Nicole) of Philadelphia; her sister-in-law, Taurean Brown of Capitol Heights, MD; her parents: Willard Wright (Yolanda) of Lincoln, Ca. and Simone Wright of Chicago, IL; step-siblings: Nicole Ricard (Raphael) and Tony Blake, as well as loving cousins, niece, nephews, and a cadre of friends.
Services to celebrate the life of Elise Wright-Maharaj were held Friday, June 26, 2015 at St. Paul’s Chapel, 1160 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions were
made in her name to the Noel Pointer Foundation or to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center via the following website: https://www.youcaring.com/elisewrightmaharaj