|Full Name||Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas|
|Birthday||October 13, 1980|
|Social Profiles||Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube|
Ashanti is a singer/actress who was initially discovered as a teenager and signed to Murder Inc. Records in 2002 where she was featured on two hit songs. Her smash hit debut album in 2002 launched her into superstardom and she became the first female artist to claim the top two spots on the Billboard Hot 100 chart concurrently.
Early Life and Career Beginnings
Born on October 13, 1980, Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas grew up in Glen Cove, New York in a musically-inclined household. Her mother, Tina Douglas, was a former dance teacher, and her grandfather once sang with jazz legend Duke Ellington. Ashanti started singing at age 12 and was performing in talent shows around New York by the time she was 14.
In the mid-1990s, she was discovered by Bad Boy Records founder Sean Combs who signed her to the label. Under Bad Boy, she recorded some demo tracks but left without releasing a full album. Undeterred, Ashanti continued honing her songwriting abilities and eventually caught the attention of Irv Gotti, CEO of the hip hop record label Murder Inc. Records. Gotti was blown away by her songwriting talent and immediately signed her to Murder Inc. in 2002.
Meteoric Rise with Debut Album
In April 2002, Ashanti released her hugely successful self-titled debut studio album, Ashanti. I remember the incredible buzz surrounding the album release and watching Ashanti dominate the music charts that year. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, selling a whopping 504,593 copies in its first week – the biggest first week sales for a debut female artist at the time.
Her debut single, "Foolish," spent ten consecutive weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 and became one of the biggest songs of 2002. She made history as the first female artist to occupy the top two positions on the Hot 100 chart concurrently when "Foolish" and "What‘s Luv?" (her collaboration with Fat Joe) captured the #1 and #2 spots simultaneously. It was a phenomenal achievement cementing her status as music royalty.
Thanks to the runaway success of her debut, Ashanti won a staggering eight Billboard Music Awards in 2002 including Top Female Artist of the Year. She also picked up her first Grammy in 2003, winning Best Contemporary R&B Album for her debut.
Sustained Success Over the Years
After her meteoric rise, Ashanti continued releasing more hit albums over the years like Chapter II (2003), Concrete Rose (2004), The Declaration (2008) and BraveHeart (2014). Chart-topping singles like "Rock wit U (Awww Baby)," "Only U," "Good Good," and "The Way That I Love You" became R&B classics.
To date, she has sold over 15 million records globally and won over 30 major music awards including a staggering eight Billboard Music Awards, four American Music Awards, and six ASCAP Awards. Her powerful vocals and relatable lyrics about love and relationships have connected with millions of fans worldwide.
Now with over 20 years in the industry, Ashanti has cemented herself as a bonafide R&B legend. While music trends come and go, her soulful songs have withstood the test of time. She continues to inspire both fans and fellow artists with her empowering music and dominance on the charts.
Acting Pursuits and Other Endeavors
Aside from her wildly successful music career, Ashanti has proven herself as an actress too. She made her acting debut in the 2005 film Coach Carter with Samuel L. Jackson. Since then, she has appeared in numerous movies and TV shows including John Tucker Must Die (2006), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2006), Army Wives (2009), and Christmas in the City (2013).
The multi-talented star has served as a spokesperson for major brands like Got Milk? and Neutrogena. She launched her own fragrance line called Precious Jewel in 2014. Ashanti also plans to start her own book publishing company, Written Entertainment, allowing her to pursue yet another creative outlet.
A dedicated philanthropist, Ashanti is involved with several charities and causes close to her heart including breast cancer and domestic violence prevention. In 2013, she received the Entertainer of the Year Award at the Soul Train Awards for her community service efforts.
Personal Life and Relationships
Though she keeps her personal life very private, Ashanti dated rapper Nelly for nearly 10 years before their split in 2014. It was amazing seeing them collaborate on hit singles like "Body On Me" during their time together. These days, Ashanti seems focused on her career and enjoying the single life.
When not working, she enjoys activities like cooking, reading, writing poetry, yoga, traveling and learning about different cultures. She also has homes in New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta but spends a great deal of time in Florida too.
The Princess of Hip Hop and R&B
Now in her 40s, Ashanti has cemented her status as music royalty. With her one-of-a-kind voice, chart-topping hits, and astounding list of honors, she has more than earned the title "Princess of Hip Hop and R&B." We can expect more amazing music and creative ventures from this multi-talented artist for years to come!
5 Key Highlights
- Discovered by Bad Boy‘s Sean Combs in mid-1990s
- Signed to Murder Inc. Records in 2002
- Debut album Ashanti (2002) sold over 500,000 copies in first week
- First female artist to claim top 2 spots on Hot 100 chart concurrently
- 8x platinum selling artist with over 15 million records sold
Top 3 Songs
- "Foolish" (2002) – Spent 10 weeks at #1 on Billboard Hot 100
- "Rock wit U (Awww Baby)" (2003) – Peaked at #2 on Hot 100
- "Rain on Me" (2003) – Reached #7 on Hot 100 and her biggest crossover pop hit
- 8 Billboard Music Awards including Top Female Artist (2002)
- 1 Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Album for Ashanti (2002)
- 4 American Music Awards
- 6 ASCAP Awards for most performed songs
- 4 Lady of Soul Awards from Soul Train Music Awards
With her unparalleled success and accolades, Ashanti has cemented her status as a multi-platinum R&B icon. Her musical legacy reminds us that dreams can be achieved with hard work, passion, and dedication to your craft.