What Happened to Ashanti?
Before we get into where Ashanti is now...let’s take it back to the beginning.
Ashanti Douglas was born on October 13th, 1980. The singer, songwriter, record producer, model, dancer and actress was first discovered by her mother when she was 12 years old. She started to write songs in high school and also started her acting career making appearances in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X in 1992 and a music video for KRS-One. She finally signed with Murder Inc. in 2002.
Ashanti was first noticed by Irv Gotti because of her vocals and he asked her to sing hooks for different rappers and even did some duets. She appeared on The Fast and the Furious soundtrack in 2001 but her first break came when she was featured on hit singles Fat Joe’s “What’s Luv” and Ja Rule’s “Always on Time.” These two hit singles became the biggest hit songs of 2002. Ashanti became the first female artist to be in two spots on the U.S Billboard Hot 100 chart simultaneously with “What’s Luv” and “Foolish” being number one and two.
Her first debut single “Foolish” became a hit. She sampled DeBarge’s “Stay with Me” for this single and it stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 for ten weeks at the top. Ashanti released her debut album Ashanti in 2002 and sold over half a million copies in the U.S in the first week. She earned eight Billboard Music Awards, two American Music Awards and a Grammy Award for the best Contemporary R&B Album in 2003. Her debut album ended up going triple platinum in the U.S and sold six million copies worldwide.
The next year in 2003, Ashanti’s second album Chapter II debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. Chapter II sold 326,000 copies in the first week, and ending up going platinum and selling over 1.5 million copies in the U.S. The hit singles “Rock wit U (Awww Baby) and “Rain on Me” helped the album receive a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary R&B album, Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Her music video for “Rain on Me” received a Lifetime Channel Achievement Award for her message speaking out against domestic violence. This year she also started dating Rapper Nelly.
In 2004, she released her third album Concrete Rose. This album became her third platinum certified album. Her hit single “Only U” reached number thirteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and was very popular in the U.K. Her second single “Don’t Let Them” wasn’t as popular because Def Jam refused to fund a music video. After the release of this album, she released a DVD called Ashanti: The Making of a Star and it featured exclusive photos and behind the scenes footage.
Now getting into her acting career, in 2005 Ashanti made her acting debut in Coach Carter and also starred in The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz, which had almost eight million viewers once it premiered. She decided to focus more on her acting this year. Ashanti also made an appearance in John Tucker Must Die in 2006, and Resident Evil: Extinction in 2007 playing a supporting role.
Her next album The Declaration was released in 2008, but only sold 86,000 copies the first week and this was the lowest number she’s ever done. Her single “The Way That I Love You” was her first single to reach top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100, since “Only U” which released in 2004. Her single “Body on Me” also released on Nelly’s album Brass Knuckles and was number one on the Billboard’s Hot Videoclip Tracks chart for its first week.
In May of 2009, Irv Gotti released Ashanti from The Inc. Records and a few months later she signed to a new label Written Entertainment. Also, in 2009 she headlined in the cast of The Wiz in the New York City Center Encores!, which she received mixed reviews about her performance.
After four years of no releases from Ashanti, she made her comeback with some singles “The Woman You Love” featuring Busta Rhymes and “Never Should Have” that won Best Independent R&B/Soul Performance at the 2013 Soul Train Awards. And in 2012 to 2013 she made her way back to acting appearing in Army Wives and starred in a Lifetime movie Christmas in the City.
Ashanti’s fifth album Braveheart was released in 2014. Her first single “I Got It” featured Rick Ross and second single “Early in the Morning” featured French Montana. The album debuted at number 10 on the Billboard 200 and was her first Independent Albums chart topper.
In 2015, she announced another album in the making but no release date was mentioned. She also collaborated with Michelle Obama for her #Let’sMove campaign and released a single called “Let’s Go” to help spread awareness for drinking water.
In 2017, Ashanti announced her seventh studio album to be released in 2018. This album is in collaboration with Ja Rule. She returned to the music and collaborated with rappers such as Ty Dolla Sign and Lil Wayne on their albums.
Recently, in 2019, she released her single “Floating” with Afro B in the collaboration with “Pretty Little Thing.” She appeared in a few more shows as well, but still no new album.
Ashanti was active in acting when she wasn’t releasing music. She dated rapper Nelly for 10 years, but their relationship ended in 2014. She is active in the community and has given back. She’s helped many organizations raise money and awareness for good causes. But...she’s also just started going on tour again so you might be able to catch a show. Ashanti was a great artist and released some hit singles that are still being played today, but her stardom only lasted for so long.