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
in 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 but as of November 2009, the record has been broken
by Susan Boyle. 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 female to accomplish this feat and being second only to The
Beatles. As of 2008, She has sold more than fifteen million records
worldwide, with more than seven million of these sold in the US. 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 41 on the
Top Artist of the Decade List.
Ashanti has sung background vocals for Jennifer Lopez on "I'm Real (Murder
Remix)" and wrote and sang 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 15 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, Big Daddy
Kane, 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
Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas was born on October 13, 1980, in Glen Cove, New
York. 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 godfather, Lorenzo
Langford, is the current mayor of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Her mother
named her after the Empire of Ashanti 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 herself 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, Madonna, Ella Fitzgerald,
Peggy Lee, Blue Magic, Smokey Robinson, Luther Vandross, Clark Sisters,
Mary J. Blige, and Donna Summer amongst her musical influences.
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 pulled out a bottle and told her it was his
new fragrance, which he said he loved. After one sniff, Ashanti said, "Oh
pew, it stinks. I hate it!" Diddy started laughing, stating it was a test
to judge her character. 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
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
Ashanti was first noticed by Irv Gotti because her vocal skills. Ashanti
initially asked him to produce a few demo songs for her to record so she
could say she had some strong tracks by the big time producer but Gotti
had a different idea. He asked her to pen hooks for his rap artists and to
perform with them in duets. Ashanti provided the melodic response to their
call. Ashanti was first featured as a background vocalist on rapper Big
Pun's song "How We Roll". In the same year, Ashanti was featured on fellow
labelmate Cadillac Tah's singles "Pov City Anthem" and "Just Like a Thug".
She also appeared on the 2001 The Fast and the Furious soundtrack as a
featured artist on Vita's 2001 hip hop remake of Madonna's "Justify My
Love" and on the solo track "When a Man Does Wrong". She appeared as a
background vocalist on "I'm Real (Murder Remix)", a collaboration by
labelmate Ja Rule and Jennifer Lopez (she also appeared in the music video
for "Aint It Funny (Murder Remix)", the second duet between Lopez and
Rule, for which she wrote and also sang background vocals on), and was
featured on Fat Joe's "What's Luv?" and Ja Rule's "Always on Time".
"What's Luv?" and "Always on Time" were released simultaneously and became
two of the biggest hit songs of 2002. Ashanti became the first female to
occupy the top two positions on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart
simultaneously when "Always on Time" and "What's Luv?" were at numbers one
and two, respectively.
Following the success of her collaborations with Ja Rule and Fat Joe,
Ashanti released her debut single, "Foolish", which contains a sample of
the 1983 song "Stay with Me" by DeBarge (also utilized by The Notorious
B.I.G. in his 1995 single "One More Chance", and by Big L in "MVP"). This
is her biggest song to date, spending ten weeks atop the Billboard Hot
100. She became the second artist (after The Beatles) to have their first
three chart entries in the top ten of the Hot 100 simultaneously.
Ashanti's self-titled debut album, Ashanti, was released on Irv Gotti's
Murder Inc. record label in April 2002. It debuted at number one on the
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 albums chart, and stayed there for three weeks,
selling over 503,000 copies in its first week. The album has been
certified triple platinum in the United States and has sold over seven
million copies worldwide. Ashanti wrote the album's twelve tracks, most of
which were written on the spot in the studio. 2002 saw the birth of the
careers of many new R&B artists and 'rivals' against Ashanti including
Amerie,Tweet, Mario and Nivea. Ashanti's dominance of the r&b world was
certified as she had a song in the top ten of the r&b/hip hop charts every
week from January to November of 2002.
Ashanti's follow-up singles, "Happy" and "Baby", were not as successful as
her debut single but peaked inside the top ten and top twenty in the U.S.,
respectively. During mid 2002, Ashanti appeared on Ja Rule's "Down 4 U"
with labelmates, female rappers Vita and Charli Baltimore. The song
appeared on a Murder Inc. compilation titled Irv Gotti Presents The Inc.
Ashanti's debut album earned her many awards, including eight Billboard
Music Awards, two American Music Awards, and a Grammy Award in 2003 for
Best Contemporary R&B Album. She was nominated as Best New Artist and
"Foolish" was nominated in the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance category.
FHM credited her as the "Sexiest Woman in Music" in 2002. She also
received a Comet Award and two Soul Train Music Awards that same year.
Ashanti became the subject of controversy when it was announced that she
would receive the Soul Train Aretha Franklin Award for "Entertainer of the
Year", a high school student took offense and started an on-line petition
against her, explaining to The Seattle Times that she was too new to
deserve the award. Nearly 30,000 people agreed with him, signing the
petition. Many said that established artists such as Mary J. Blige and
Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott or critically-acclaimed singers like Alicia
Keys and India.Arie were more deserving of an award that carries the name
of a musical legend. Despite the petition, the Soul Train committee and
Don Cornelius stuck by their decision and Ashanti. Ashanti was applauded
by her musical peers as she entered the Pasadena Civic Auditorium to
accept her award and she was supported onstage by legendary singer Patti
LaBelle, who stated "she's a baby and we have to support our babies." In
2002, Ashanti scored a top ten hit with Down 4 U and the album which
accompanied it was certified gold in late 2003.
In September 2002, Ashanti and her sister Kenashia appeared on the first
DisneyMania CD, which was released under Walt Disney Records and features
contemporary Disney songs. Ashanti and her sister sang "Colors of the
Wind" from the Disney film Pocahontas. By early 2003, Ashanti had
performed at every major award show there was: Soul Train Awards, Grammy's
, BET Awards, MTV Awards and the American Music Awards. In 2003, Ja Rule
and Ashanti collaborated on another hit song, "Mesmerize", the music video
for which was a parody of a scene from the film Grease.
In July 2003, Ashanti released her second album, Chapter II, which debuted
at number one on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of 326,000 copies
in the U.S.. The album remained at number one for two weeks. The album
went 2xplatinum in the United States. The album's success was somewhat
eclipsed, however, by all the negative drama surrounding the Murder Inc.
camp at the time (i.e., the FBI investigation and the G-Unit feuding).
Chapter II's first single, "Rock wit U (Awww Baby)", became a hit, peaking
at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Its video, which showed Ashanti in
a bikini frolicking on a beach and riding an elephant named Bubbles, was
nominated for two 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. A remix of the song
contains interpolations of Michael Jackson's "Rock with You". The second
single, "Rain on Me", reached the number-seven spot on the Hot 100 and
number two on the Hot 100 R&B Songs chart. Chapter II was nominated for a
2004 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album, and "Rock wit U (Awww
Baby)" and "Rain on Me" were nominated in the categories of Best R&B Song
and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, respectively. At the end of 2003 in
November, Ashanti performed at The American Music Awards and was nominated
in two categories.
In the "Rain on Me" mini-movie music video—directed by Hype Williams and
co-starring Larenz Tate—Ashanti portrays a troubled young woman in an
abusive relationship. Her song and lyrics combined with William's visuals
to impart the power and horror of the cycle of domestic violence. Ashanti
partnered with LidRock to distribute this mini-movie using LidRock's
unique platform. This promotion, in conjunction with heavy rotation on
MTV, BET and other music video programs, brought the film and her cause to
the attention of millions of fans. It also helped to raise money for the
cause, with proceeds from the $5 mini-disc going toward helping to stop
domestic violence. She received a Lifetime Channel Achievement Award for
her message speaking out against domestic violence.
Ashanti was scheduled to join Mariah Carey on the U.S. leg of her
Charmbracelet World Tour, but due to scheduling issues, she became the
opening act for R.Kelly's five-date tour in mid 2003 instead. In May 2003,
Ashanti appeared on VH1 Divas and performed her single "Rock wit U (Awww
Baby)". She also participated in duets with Stevie Wonder (who later gave
her the nickname Little Libra) on "Do I Do", and the Isley Brothers on
In November 2003, Ashanti's Christmas album, Ashanti's Christmas was
released, containing almost an equal amount of original songs to Christmas
standards. This album was panned by most critics. In late 2003, Ashanti
released a Christmas melody video for the album. According to soundscan,
the album sold just around 400,000 units in the U.S.
Before Concrete Rose was released, Ashanti did some major promotion for
her single Only U, when she premiered it at the 2004 Vibe Music Awards. In
2004, Ashanti was invited back to perform at VH1's Divas 2004. She
appeared on stage with Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Jessica Simpson, and
others. She performed Diana Ross' single "I'm Coming Out", and she
performed a soul-influenced rendition of Chaka Khan's funk driven "Ain't
Nobody". Later that year Ashanti collaborated with male R&B newcomer and
labelmate Lloyd on the song "Southside", which was released as his debut
single and was a moderate hit. "Wonderful"—with Ja Rule and R.
Kelly—peaked at number five in the U.S. and at number one in the UK, and
"Jimmy Choo" with rapper Shyne reached number fifty-five on the Billboard
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. Alongside artist such as Wyclef
Jean, Mary J. Blige, Eve, Brandy, Fabolous, Jadakiss, Missy Elliott, and
many others, Ashanti participated in a cover of "Wake Up Everybody" in
support of ACT, the left-leaning political action committee.
In December 2004, Ashanti released her third studio album, Concrete Rose,
the title of which took on Tupac Shakur's pseudonym "The Rose That Grew
from Concrete". The album debuted at number seven in the U.S with first
week sales of 254,000 copies, and eventually sold well over a million
copies to date. The album was certified 2xPlatinum in the U.S. The first
single, the gold-certified "Only U", reached number thirteen on the
Billboard Hot 100 and became her biggest hit in the United Kingdom,
peaking at number two. Ashanti received praise from critic for her vocals
on the second single, the ballad "Don't Let Them", but it garnered little
chart success after Def Jam refused to fund a music video due to Irv
Gotti's legal troubles during his money laundering trial. The singer used
her own money to deliver the second video to her fans, with Gotti acting
as director. The single was released only in the U.S., where it failed to
chart, and the UK, where it reached the lower end of the top forty. In
2005, Ashanti graced the stage at the MTV Japan Music Awards, where she
performed her hit single, Only U. She also won a Style award during the
show. She performed alongside huge acts like Mariah Carey and Korean star
After the release of Concrete Rose, Ashanti released the DVD Ashanti: The
Making of a Star, which was available only for a limited time. The deluxe
DVD includes exclusive photo and video shoot footage, music from the
albums Ashanti, Chapter II and Concrete Rose, special concert footage,
unreleased childhood school performances and behind-the-scenes interviews
with family, friends, and fans. The DVD was also repackaged along with the
film Coach Carter. Later in 2005, Ashanti was invited to Oprah Winfrey's
Legends Ball, which honored some of the most influential and legendary
African American women of the twentieth century in the fields of art,
entertainment, and civil rights.
In December 2005, Ashanti released a remix album of Concrete Rose titled
Collectables by Ashanti. It features six remixes of previously released
tracks and four newly recorded songs, including the single "Still on It",
which features rappers Paul Wall and Method Man. The album was an
opportunity for her to fulfill her contract with Def Jam (and have the
option of working with another label), and did not fare well on the
Her fourth studio album, The Declaration, was released on June 3, 2008.
Ashanti ventured out and acquired producers and collaborators primarily
outside The Inc. for the first time. She said the album was a
representation of the freedom she felt she had at that time in her career.
"I'm steering my own ship and taking the lead on everything. You can
definitely hear the growth; I'm working with producers I've never worked
with before". Irv Gotti was quoted as saying, "she's having her little
Janet Jackson Control moment. Every artist has their moment when they feel
they need to take over their own music and this is hers".
The album debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 with sales of 89,000
copies, Ashanti's lowest first-week sales for a studio album. Two singles
released during 2007 in advance of the album's release—"Switch" featuring
Nelly and produced by Shy Carter, and "Hey Baby (After the Club)"
featuring Mario Winans—did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. "Hey Baby
(After the Club)" reached number eighty-seven on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs
chart, and the third single, which is known as the official first single
of the album, the L. T. Hutton-produced "The Way That I Love You", reached
number two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and peaked at number
thirty-seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The official second single from the album was the Jermaine Dupri-produced
"Good Good". Also featured on The Declaration is the Nelly collaboration
"Body on Me", which is the third single from his 2008 album Brass
Knuckles. On July 17, 2008, BET premiered the video for "Good Good" by
playing of the video at the top of every hour.
Ashanti came under heavy fire for the now pulled TheWayThatILoveYou.com
and its Gotchagrams. Visitors to the controversial site were greeted by a
fake news headline from the UCN, the Universal Crime Network, which
reported that, "police are investigating a recent wave of violence in New
Jersey. The police commissioner has hinted that there may be a tie between
the recent attacks and the music video for Universal/Motown recording
artist Ashanti's single 'The Way That I Love You.'" Less than 30 seconds
after the site loaded, a large knife, dripping with blood, carved out a
box at the top of the page, and a menu popped up that let users send a
"Gotchagram" e-card/video to a friend or enemy. After putting in your
name, the name of your friend and their "crime," a menu titled "Your
Victim's Crime" dropped down with such options as "sleeping around,"
"suspected sleeping around," "playing you like a fool" and "breaking your
heart." The next drop-down menu, for "Weapon of Choice," features options
such as "boot," "knife," "can," "sledgehammer," "rolling pin" and
"guillotine." Due to the threat of a protest and bad publicity towards the
album, Ashanti & Universal decided to take the website down.
In May 2009, Irv Gotti announced that he had planned on officially
dropping Ashanti from The Inc. Records, stating that "The relationship has
run its course. The chemistry of what's needed — we're in two totally
different places. You're talking to somebody that took her and shaped and
molded her and put her out there for the world, and it blew up. We hold
the record for the fastest selling debut by a female R&B artist — 503
thousand. We did it! My views and philosophies and her views and
philosophies are not meeting up." Gotti also admitted that he and Ashanti
haven't spoken to each other in a long time. A rep for Ashanti has not
Ashanti got her first taste of acting as a child extra in the Spike Lee
directed movies Malcolm X and Who's Da Man. She also started as a dancer
in the Disney TV film Polly.
After success with her music career, Ashanti had a cameo appearance in the
film Bride and Prejudice, in which she sang "My Lips are Waiting" and
"Touch My Body". Ashanti's appearance in the film was meant as homage to a
tradition in Bollywood films where a celebrity would make a cameo
appearance to sing a song that has no direct involvement in the plot. The
rest of the characters do not interact with the celebrity but are seen in
the crowd enjoying the show.
In January 2005, she made her feature film acting debut in the film Coach
Carter alongside Samuel L. Jackson, which debuted at number one opening
weekend. She played a pregnant teenager named Kyra who has to decide
whether or not to abort her unborn child. The movie opened at number-one
at the U.S. box office, eventually grossing $67 million in the U.S. Later
in 2005, Ashanti beat out Hilary Duff and Jessica Simpson to star as
Dorothy Gale in the made-for-television film The Muppets' Wizard of Oz,
which pulled in nearly 8 million viewers.
In 2006, she starred in the teen comedy John Tucker Must Die, which opened
and peaked at number three at the U.S. box office (competing with Pirates
of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Miami Vice) and grossed $68,818,076
worldwide. Ashanti played Heather, the head cheerleader who participates
in a vengeful scheme against John Tucker, her unfaithful boyfriend and the
school's biggest heartthrob. Ashanti can also be found on Buffy the
Vampire Slayer season 7 episode 14: "First Date" and on Sabrina the
Teenage Witch season 7 episode 3: "Call Me Crazy".
In 2007, Ashanti appeared in the sci-fi horror action Resident Evil:
Extinction as a nurse named Betty. The film entered at number one at the
box office grossing $53,678,580 in its opening week. To date the movie has
grossed $83,648,679 at the US box office and around $197,713,442
worldwide. This is Ashanti's second number one movie, the other being
It has been widely noted by fans of the video game, Resident Evil 5, that
the new lead character "Sheva" strongly resembles Ashanti as she appeared
in the Resident Evil 3 movie. Capcom, developer of the game, has denied
any unauthorized or uncompensated usage of Ashanti's image has occurred,
although in the past they have modeled characters after celebrities, such
as Ayumi Hamasaki, a former Capcom spokesperson. The case is similar to
that of musician Deee-Lite (a.k.a. "Lady Miss Kier"), who alleged in a
2003 lawsuit that after rejecting an offer by Sega to model a game
character after her as she appeared in her 1999 video "Groove Is In the
Heart", her image was "stolen" anyway by Sega, who created character
"Ulala" (pronounced "Ooh-la-la") for their video game Space Channel 5.
On October 27, 2008, Ashanti took part in The Yellow Brick Road Not Taken,
a one night only concert to celebrate the Fifth anniversary of Wicked,
featuring songs written by Stephen Schwartz, that were cut from the show.
Ashanti headlined the cast of the The Wiz in the New York City Center
Encores! Summer Stars staging from June 12 to July 5. Ashanti's role as
Dorothy has since received mixed reviews from critics as most praised her
vocals but was less pleased with her acting ability. BET and Entertainment
Weekly both praised the singer's performance as The New York Post and New
York Times gave lukewarm reviews. Though the first night was sold out,
some of the other shows were unable to follow its success.
On May 2, 2002 Ashanti received the key to the city of Glen Cove, New York
(her hometown), and the day was named Ashanti Day; Ashanti also received a
key to the city of Atlantic City, New Jersey (she was crowned princess of
hip hop and R&B).
Ashanti is set to showcase her style in a book, titled Ashanti Style,
which will be published in late 2007. The book, which is being touted as
Ashanti's "life and style guide" will offer fans a behind-the-scenes look
into her style, both in her personal and professional life. Ashanti Style
will be published by Jump at the Sun, an imprint of Disney's Hyperion
Books for Children. Another venture Ashanti has enlisted in is her own
handbags and pocketbook, revealed in 2007. In July 2008 Ashanti was named
an ambassador of tourism for Nassau County, Long Island.
In 2003, Ashanti partnered LidRock and the San Francisco-based Family
Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) to raise awareness about the issue of
domestic violence during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and to
distribute the "Rain On Me" mini-movie using LidRock’s unique platform.
Proceeds from the $5 mini-disc went towards helping to stop domestic
violence. Ashanti also recorded a public service announcement that
appeared in more than 4,000 film screens and reached millions of people.
Ashanti also gives back by raising money for sickle cell research and she
is active in helping the Make-A-Wish Foundation stating, "I’ll go and do
just about anything for them." In 2005, Ashanti helped by recording public
service announcement and raising money for the Southeast Asia tsunami
disaster. Later that year she helped raise money for the Hurricane Katrina
victims and storm evacuees. In 2008, Ashanti, along with others
celebrities, taped a PSA to help stop violence and discrimination towards
the LGBT community in response to the death of Lawrence King, an
eighth-grader at E.O. Green Junior High School who was shot because of his
sexual orientation and gender expression. That same year, she launched a
special on-line campaign called "I Declare Me..." with Wal-Mart. The
campaign's core is a very personal focus on the self-definition and
empowerment of women across the United States, with its home base at
Ashanti's official website. The campaign creates a safe and inclusive
on-line space to for women to share testimonies on the site. Participants
are able to openly declare their own breakthroughs, revelations, struggles
and victories in every life area they choose: career, birth, death,
relationships, and personal situations. "I Declare Me..." also invites
women to a virtual discussion with Ashanti on such issues as voter
registration, teen obesity, and other concerns facing women today.
In September, 2008, Ashanti, along with other artists Mariah Carey,
Beyoncé Knowles, Mary J. Blige, Rihanna, Fergie, Sheryl Crow, Miley Cyrus,
Melissa Etheridge, Natasha Bedingfield, Keyshia Cole, Ciara, Leona Lewis,
LeAnn Rimes and Carrie Underwood, teamed up for the song "Just Stand Up!".
The charity tune for cancer was conceived by Antonio "L.A." Reid, who
produced it with longtime creative colleague Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds. All
15 singers (along with Nicole Scherzinger) shared the stage to perform the
song live on Sept. 5 2008 during the "Stand Up to Cancer" television
special, which aired simultaneously on ABC, NBC and CBS, and helped raise
$100 million dollars for cancer research. As a result of SU2C fund raising
endeavors, the SU2C scientific advisory committee, overseen by the
American Association for Cancer Research was able to award 73.6 million
dollars towards novel, groundbreaking cancer research in 2009.
In November 2009, Ashanti joined the crew of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home
Edition. The singer assisted in the rebuilding of the Powell Family home
in Buffalo, New York. The efforts from the show expanded significantly to
include not just the family home but the entire neighborhood surrounding
it. The episode aired January 24, 2010.