Ashanti acting career

Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas, (born October 13, 1980) is an American recording artist, record producer, actress, dancer, and model who rose to fame in the early 2000s. Ashanti is most famous for her eponymous debut album Ashanti, which featured the hit song "Foolish", and sold over 503,000 copies in its first week of release throughout the U.S. in April 2002. The album set a Soundscan record as the biggest opening week sales for a new female artist, outselling debuts by Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill In the same week, she became the first female performer to simultaneously hold the top two places on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with "Foolish", and "What's Luv?" (with Fat Joe). Ashanti broke records again by having three top ten songs, "Foolish," "What's Luv?" and "Always on Time" on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the same week, being the first woman to accomplish this feat and being second only to the Beatles. In 2003, the self titled debut album won Ashanti her first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B album. As of 2008, she has sold more than 27 million albums worldwide. Ashanti ended the decade (2000–09) as the third top new R&B artist behind Alicia Keys and Beyonce Knowles.She also ended the decade at number 38 on the Top Artist of the Decade list. As of 2010, Ashanti is listed in the 20 Best Selling Music Singles Since 1990 in History[citation needed]. She ranked #17, with Foolish selling more than 7.4 million copies in the U.S.

Ashanti has sung background vocals for Jennifer Lopez on "I'm Real (Murder Remix)" and wrote and sung background on the song "Ain't It Funny (Murder Remix)" sung by Jennifer Lopez, both reaching number one on Billboard Hot 100 , which was also in the top 10 charts at the same time as "Foolish", "Always on Time" (with Ja Rule), and "What's Luv" (with Fat Joe). Later that year, she was acclaimed as the "Princess Of Hip-Hop & R&B" by her label and capped off her successful debut by winning eight Billboard awards and two American Music Awards. Within 7 years of Ashanti's career, she has scored 16 top 40 hits on the Hot 100. Ashanti has endorsed numerous products including Gap, Herbal Essences and Mudd Jeans.

Ashanti cites Janet Jackson, Prince, Madonna, Tupac Shakur, Tamia, Mary J. Blige, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Yolanda Adams, Luther Vandross, The Beatles, the Clark Sisters, Smokey Robinson, Donna Summer, and Blue Magic as her musical influences. Praised as a gifted songwriter by her peers and critics alike, Ashanti has written/co-written the bulk of all her music. She is currently working on her own publishing company entitled Written Entertainment. She released her fourth studio album entitled The Declaration on June 3, 2008 and is currently in the studio working on her fifth. She also performed the charity tune "Just Stand Up" alongside 14 other female singers for the "Stand Up to Cancer" live television special which helped raise $100 million dollars for cancer research.
Contents
* 1 Early life
* 2 Recording career
o 2.1 Early career
o 2.2 Murder Inc.
o 2.3 Debut album: Ashanti (2002)
o 2.4 Chapter II (2003)
o 2.5 Ashanti's Christmas
o 2.6 Concrete Rose (2004-2005)
o 2.7 Collectables by Ashanti
o 2.8 The Declaration (2008)
o 2.9 Departure from The Inc.
o 2.10 2009-present
* 3 Acting career
o 3.1 The Wiz
* 4 Other activities
o 4.1 Philanthropy
* 5 Discography
* 6 Filmography
o 6.1 Films
o 6.2 Television
o 6.3 Theatre
* 7 See also
* 8 Notes
* 9 References
* 10 External links
Early life
Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas was born on October 13, 1980, in Glen Cove, New York. She is African American of Saharan descent. Her nickname is "Bon Bon" given to her by her family. She acquired a love for music from her mother, Tina Douglas, a former dance teacher and her father, Ken-Kaide Thomas Douglas, a former singer. She has a younger sister named Kenashia. Her mother named her after the Ashanti Empire in Ghana; in this nation, women had power and influence, and Ashanti's mother wanted her daughter to follow that model. Her grandfather, James, was a civil-rights activist who associated with Martin Luther King, Jr. during the 1960s.[ Growing up, Ashanti took dance lessons and joined the church choir. Ashanti went to Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center, where she studied different dance styles, including tap, jazz, ballet, African, modern, and hip hop. She danced with the Senior Pro Ensemble at Carnegie Hall, the Apollo Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Avery Fisher Hall, and the Black Spectrum Theater. She also performed at the 1994 Caribbean Awards and dancing with Judith Jamison of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. With actress and choreographer Debbie Allen at the helm, Ashanti also performed in the Disney television film Polly alongside stars Keshia Knight Pulliam Jomecia Moore and Phylicia Rashad.

When she was six, Ashanti sang in a gospel choir, but her mother discovered her full singing potential when she overheard Ashanti singing Mary J. Blige's "Reminisce" to her at age twelve. By the time Ashanti hit puberty, her mother was sending out demo tapes of her singing and dancing. The family could not afford to go to a studio and record a formal demo, so when labels called, Ashanti would have to sing and dance in front of the record company executives. While attending high school, she began to write songs. As a teenager, she performed in a local talent show and at the Soul Cafe, China Club, Madison Square Garden, Caroline's Comedy Club and Greek Fest 2000. In her first major singing performance, Ashanti performed Yolanda Adams's "More Than a Melody". She also appeared in a number of big-name music videos, in addition to other dance work.

She cites Janet Jackson, Prince, Tupac Shakur, Marvin Gaye, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Blue Magic, Smokey Robinson, Luther Vandross, The Clark Sisters, Mary J. Blige, and Donna Summer amongst her musical influences.
Recording career
Early career
When Ashanti was fourteen, she was discovered by P.Diddy's Bad Boy Records. Initially, she went to Bad Boy Records and sang one of Mary J. Blige's songs in front of P.Diddy and Biggie Smalls. After being impressed by her singing ability, Diddy had her sign to a development deal. In the end, due to a bad contract, Ashanti did not sign with Diddy. This ultimately led to a record deal with Jive Records in 1994. This relationship soured when Jive tried to make Ashanti into a pop singer.
Ashanti subsequently involved herself in schoolwork, cheerleading, and running on her school's track team. She was an honor student in English and belonged to the English club where she began writing poetry. She was also in the Drama club and performed in a few plays. she put college pursuits aside when Epic Records approached her with a contract in 1998. However, the label's management changes quickly made Ashanti a low priority. She continued to perform at local New York clubs and began hanging out at the Murder Inc. recording studio, hoping for another big break
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