Name at birth: Ashanti Douglas
Singer Ashanti won a 2003 Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Album for her solo debut, Ashanti. By the time the album was released, Ashanti was already an up-and-coming star on the urban and hip-hop music scene, thanks to collaborations with Jennifer Lopez and Big Punisher. Her own hit single, "Foolish," joined her duets with Ja Rule ("Always On Time") and Fat Joe ("What's Luv") at the top of the charts. Savvy marketing, which included magazine covers, music videos and public appearances, pushed her into the limelight alongside other R&B "divas" such as Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige. In 2003 she published a book, Foolish/Unfoolish: Reflections on Love, and released her second album, Chapter II, featuring the hit singles "Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)" and "Southside." In 2004 she released two albums, Can't Stop and Concrete Rose, and tried her hand at acting, landing a role in the Samuel L. Jackson feature, Coach Carter (2005).
Ashanti was born in Glen Cove, New York, also the hometown of author Thomas Pynchon.