Ashanti is a beautiful American female performer equisit in singing, dancing and acting. Other than success in releasing hits and her acting roles, she is also known for her relationship with a famous American rapper Nelly.

Early years

She was born as Ashanti Shequioya Douglas on October 13, 1980 in Glen Clove in Long Island, in New York.

Her beautiful mother (from whom she inherreted great looks) was a dance teacher so Ashanti was surrounded by music and dancers from a very early age. Her father, Ken-Kaide Thomas, was also a singer and a musician so we can surely say that music runs through Ashanti’s blood. Her father left that career and today is computer systems administrator.

Ashanti’s peculiar name comes from a country Ghana where there was an Ashanti Empire in which women were very empowered and influental. Her mother told her the stories about the Empire, wanting her to raise a strong, independent daughter.

Her grandfather was a very influental man in the 60’s – he was an activist in the fight for civil rights and was closely connected to Martin Luther King.

She was a very little girl when her mother taught her how to dance and enrolled her to dance school. She loved dancing and singing more than anything else.

She learned both jazz and ballet and succeeded in both.

She performed in a church choir. In high-school she joined a poetry club. It was her great passion and she has written over a hundred poems.

She enrolled Hampton University in Virginia after she finished high school but she dropped out eventually. She knew it wasn’t for her and that she had to continue with her dream.

Ashanti decided to pursue her career in music.

Her first record labels Jive Records and Epic weren’t interested in her way of music so she later turned to Murder Inc. and Irv Gotti.

She was a teenager when her voice started being full and strong and when her mother heard her sing one of Mary J. Blige’s songs she knew that her daughter had a big potential in making a music career.

Ashanti loved writing lyrics so she has spent most of her high school free time in writing and singing. She started to be involved in talent shows and performed at festivals and she never gave up her dream.

Career development

She got her first acting roles in movies „Malcolm X“ and  „Who’s the man“. Both her roles received moderate criticism.

Although she tried very hard to find a way to make it big, she didn’t get the chance as soon as she wished.

An American TV and Hip Hop producer Irv Gotti was the first to notice her voice and talent. He decided to give her a chance and help her release her first album.

She made a guest appearance on songs by Big Pun, Cadillac Tah, Fat Joe and Ja Rule. She became interesting to the hip hop scene and was often invited to make a guest appearance on other rapper’s singles.

In 2001, she was featured on a sountrack for „The Fast and Furious“.

The two songs „What’s Luv“ and „Always on Time“ that she made with Fat Joe and Ja Rule became great hits in 2002, and it was her first rise to Billboard Hot 100 No.1 song – twice.

Happy with the success, she decided to release her first single called „Foolish“. Her debut hit remained her greatest hit until today – the single stood on No.1 Billboard Hot 100 over 2 months.

Irv Gotti, who owned a record label Murder Inc., decided to produce her first album. It was named simply „Ashanti“ and after the release in 2002, the album became platinum in the US. It was sold in over 6 million copies and reached triple platinum.

She has written all the songs on her album and even written texts for others.

Her next few songs weren’t so successful (it is meant on singles „Happy“ and „Baby“).

In 2002 she appeared in the show „Sabrina, The Teenage Witch“ which gave her acting career a push.

She won a lot of awards for her debut album: 2003 Grammy Award, Billboard Music Award, Comet Award and Soul Train Music Awards.

She received the Soul Train Aretha Franklin Award which caused controversy because a lot of people considered her too young to receive it. Nevertheless, she gained the award and received it from a music icon Patti LaBelle.

Her second album was released under the title „Chapter 2“ and came to No.1 on Billboard 200 in 2003.

The album became platinum very fast and copies were sold in over a million pieces. Her greatest hit from that album was „Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)“ which came to No.1.

The video for this song was one of the nominated for MTV Music Video Awards.

„Chapter 2“ was nominated for a 2004 Grammy Award for the best album.

In 2004, she started her relationship with a known rapper, Nelly.

Ashanti released „Ashanti’s Christmas“ album in 2003 which gained moderate success.

Her third album „Concrete Rose” was released in 2004, and it was platinum just as her first two albums.

She had her first acting gig in „Coach Carter“ where she starred with Samuel L. Jackson as her parent.

Ashanti starred as Dorothy in „The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz“. This was a huge hit and tickets were sold out in a few minutes.

In 2005 she received an invitation from Oprah Winfrey to her Legends Ball which was a big honor for her. The Ball was made in honors of the most important African American Women.

„John Tucker Must Die“ was a teen comedy filmed in 2006 where Ashanti had a noticed role. One year later she was a cast member in the filming of an action movie called „Resident Evil: Extinction“.

Her 4th album called „The Declaration“ wasn’t received well with the critics. After this, Irv Gotti decided to release Ashanti from his record label and then she switched to Written Entertainment.

She released a few singled in 2011/12 which gained moderate success: „The Woman You Love“, „No One Greater“ and „Never Should Have“. The last song was best received and brought her another Soul Train Award.

She made a guest appearance in one series of „Law & Order: Special Victims Unit“ in 2013.

Her fifth album was titled „Braveheart“ and was released in 2014. This album was well received and praised for her vocal skills.

She released a video for a single „Let’s Go“ in a campaign organized by the first lady Michelle Obama and concerning the importance of drinking water.

She released a single „Say Less“ feat. Ty Dolla $ign in 2017, as an announcement of her new album which was still in production.

Her record label owned by Irv Gotti honored her with a title „Princess of Hip Hop & R&B“.

Her book of poetry called „Reflections of Love“ is released through Hyperion.

Ashanti released her own perfume called „Precious Jewel“ and a supplement called „Ashanti’s OPC-3 Beauty Blend“.

She was the first African American woman to be the cover face of Herbal Essences and their campaign. She also worked for Johnson & Johnson and Candies Apparel.

Ashanti is a very capable businesswoman who invested her earnings wisely and didn’t relay only on her music career.

She has invested in some smart stocks, bought a lot of properties.

Personal life 

She has African-American and Chinese roots. Her debut album was sold in so many copies that it was written in the Guiness Book of World Record.

Her nicknames are Shani and Shany but she preffers to be called Ashanti. She has a sister Kenashia to whom she was very close to.

Her role models are Whitney Houston. Tupay, Ella Fitzgerald and many more. Mary J. Blige is her No.1 role model.

She was introduced to rapper Nelly in 2003 and they started a romantic relationship. It lasted very long, for over nine years.

Nelly has a daughter Chanel and a son Cornell from before he met Ashanti.

Nelly and her collaborated on the single “Body On Me” from 2009. It was their only collaboration as a couple.

Ashanti had a serious problem with a person who’s been stalking her for a decade. She had to press charges against that man and she doubled her escort everywhere she went. She tried to solve this in court but the man still continued to harrase her.

She is a very generous and kind person, always involved in some philantropist events such as: „Stand Up to Cancer“ and „Family Violence Prevention“ Fund.

She received the key of her hometown city by the town mayor for her great work and success. May 3rd has become Ashanti Douglas Day.

She is very proud of herself and wanted to share it with her hometown so she made a video for her single “Baby” there. She also donated money for good causes.

Quick summary

Full name: Ashanti Shequioya Douglas

Date of birth: October 13, 1980

Birthplace: Glen Clove, Long Island, New York

Age: 38

Profession: singer, actress, poet, songwriter

Height: 160 cm

Weight: 50 kgs

Net Worth: $20 million