Ashanti

Active - 1989 - 2017  |   Born - Oct 13, 1980 in Glen Cove, NY  |   Genres - Comedy, Musical, Children's/Family, Drama, Music [nf]

Share on

Widely hailed as one of the greatest urban music discoveries of the new millennium, glamorous R&B recording sensation Ashanti entered the public eye thanks, in large part, to the efforts of record mogul Irv Gotti, the powerhouse also responsible for launching Ja Rule's career. Such albums as Chapter II, Concrete Rose, and The Declaration sold an unholy number of copies in a brief span of time, ensuring superstardom for the ascendant diva. In actuality, however, the young woman -- born Ashanti S. Douglas -- had already established a viable presence in a key number of theatrically released feature films and telemovies long prior to her 2002 debut album. She received her formal training in dance at the Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center, and made one of her earliest television appearances as a dancer, at age nine, in the Phylicia Rashad-headlined musical update of Pollyanna, Polly (1989). Bit parts in feature films ensued, including Spike Lee's Malcolm X (1992) and Ted Demme's Who's the Man? (1993).

Unsurprisingly, Ashanti's acting career received a boost from musical stardom; she landed small roles in the quasi-Bollywood comedy Bride and Prejudice (2004) and the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer before tackling her first lead, as Dorothy Gale, in the made-for-television special The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005). Ashanti then rose to higher billing with plum roles in the teen sex comedy John Tucker Must Die (2006) and the action-filled video-game adaptation Resident Evil: Extinction (2007).

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography

Factsheet

  • Danced in the 1989 Disney TV-movie Polly; which was directed and choreographed by Debbie Allen.
  • Signed her first recording contract with Jive records at the age of 14, but ended their relationship after a year.
  • Was offered a track scholarship to Hampton University but turned it down to pursue her career as a recording artist.
  • In 2002, became the first artist since the Beatles to have three singles on the Billboard Top 10 chart at the same time.
  • Received the 2002 Soul Train Aretha Franklin Award for Entertainer of the Year, which sparked controversy: a petition started by a California high-school student was signed by 30,000 people, who agreed that she was too new to deserve the award.
  • Received a key to the city of Glen Cove, NY, and May 3, 2003, was declared Ashanti Douglas Day by Nassau County.
  • Launched a perfume line in 2005 called Precious Jewel.
  • Her 2008 The Declaration CD made three of Billboard's Top 10 charts.
  • Took part in the "Stand Up to Cancer" fund-raising effort and TV special in 2008, and was among the artists who recorded a CD single for the drive.
  • The following year, she was dropped from her record label, The Inc., as label head Irv Gotti cited professional differences between the two.
  • Also in 2009, she made her stage debut when she joined the cast of The Wiz. She portrayed Dorothy.