Ashanti was born on October 13, 1980, on Long Island, Ny. After an introduction showing business in 1980s and ’90s via appearances in television advertisements and music videos, Ashanti made her recording debut as a featured musician on Big Pun’s tune “How We Roll” in 2001.
Vocalist, songwriter and performer Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas was born on October 13, 1980, in Glen Cove, Long Island, Ny, to Tina Douglas, a former dance teacher, and Kencaid Thomas Douglas, a former vocalist. Ashanti’s mom, who registered her in various types of dancing courses, including tap, jazz and ballet, nurtured her gift of dancing from a young age. But it was not until afterwards that her singing abilities were shown.
In the age of 12, Ashanti was following the typical routine of doing chores while listening to music on her headphones and singing along, when her mom told her to switch off the music while she worked—not understanding that what she believed was the radio was really her daughter singing. What followed was the revelation of a pop star. After recognizing her daughter’s gift, Ashanti’s mom entered into talent shows, where the future vocalist put first.
She first signed to the well known Jive Records, but determined to not release an album together with the recording business because she wished to compose her very own music. By age 17, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in a effort to sign with a different well-recognized record label, Epic. That goal would drop though, yet.
It was not until Ashanti met with Irv Gotti of Murder Inc. that her singing career eventually started to take off. Ashanti first debuted her vocals as a featured musician on the late rapper Big Pun’s single “How We Roll,” which made its approach to the very best of the Billboard charts in 2001. Then, she signed with Murder Inc. and started work on her debut record.
She collaborated with rapper Ja Rule—the first of many collaborations between the two musicians—on the tune “Always on Time,” and afterwards added her voice to the chorus of Fat Joe’s single “What’s Luv.” Together with the success of the singles, it was not long before Ashanti was prepared to release a single of her own, introducing her solo vocals to the world with the song “Foolish.” All three of the songs were hits, concurrently making their approach to the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the Top position, with two of the three singles holding the No. 1 and No. 2 positions.
Not only did her introduction, self-titled album rest records after its launch in 2002—selling more than 500,000 copies during its first week, establishing a SoundScan record for the best-selling debut album from a female musician and earning Ashanti a position in the Guinness Book of World Records—it was broadly critically acclaimed.
Ashanti followed the enormous success of her debut record with Chapter II (2003), which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. While her following studio albums, Concrete Rose (2004) as well as The Declaration (2008), failed to meet the success of her debut and sophomore albums, they nevertheless made their way on the Billboard 200 chart.
Outside of singing, Ashanti has formed a name for herself as an actress. Though she’d played smaller, uncredited parts before her success as a solo artist, in movies like Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (1992), she started to get more notable parts after breaking to the music business. More lately, Ashanti procured a recurring part as Latasha to the show Army Wives (2013).