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Ashanti (born October 13, 1980) otherwise known as Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas, is an American pop and R&B singer, songwriter and actor from Glen Cove, New York, U.S.
Born in Glen Cove, New York to mother and former dance teacher Tina Douglas and father and former singer Ken-Kaide Thomas Douglas, Ashanti has a creative upbringing. She attended the Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Centre at a young age where she studied dance including tap, jazz, ballet and hip-hop, and later in her teens began singing regularly at various New York shows.
The singer’s big break came in 2002 when discovered by hit maker Irv Gotti, who teamed Ashanti up with Fat Joe and his single “What’s Luv?” and Ja Rule’s “Always on Time”. The two singles were released simultaneously and led to Ashanti being the first female artist to occupy the top two positions in the chart. Before long she released her debut solo single entitled “Foolish”, which became instantly popular, the single was her biggest to date, spending ten weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
With the success of her first three singles Ashanti and Irv Gotti’s Murder Inc. record label released Ashanti’s debut album “Ashanti” in April 2002. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, has been certified triple platinum in the U.S. and catapulted the singer to a mainstream world of magazines covers and publicity. Before the end of 2002 Gotti produced a remix of “Foolish” with the Notorious B.I.G. which again hit the charts and represented Ashanti’s domination of the R&B world in 2002.
Her follow-up “Chapter II” in 2003 saw the singer reach the top of the charts once again, largely due to the success of the lead single “Rock wit U (Awww Baby)”. The same year the singer released her first Christmas album entitled “Ashanti’s Christmas” and her third full-length LP “Concrete Rose” came a year later in 2004 with the lead single “Only U”.
In 2005 Ashanti made her acting debut in the film “Coach Carter” which opened at No. 1 at the U.S. box office. In 2008 came her fourth studio album “The Declaration” which unlike her debut album which she wrote the majority-of herself, Ashanti enlisted the help of Akon, Babyface and Mario Winans in production. The album debuted at No. 6 in the albums chart led by singles “The Way That I Love You” and “Good Good”.
After a time focusing on her acting and musical appearances including staring as Dorothy in a stage production of “The Wiz”, Ashanti released her fifth album “Braveheart” in March 2014, two years after its initial single was released.