Her actual name is Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas. Her mother made her learn various dance forms including ballet, tap, and jazz. It was her mother who saw a natural dancing talent in her and to make sure that it is nurtured well she made her enroll in the dance classes. Her singing talent was discovered later. Ashanti used to choir while listening to music but her mother always asked her to switch off the radio not realizing that it’s actually her daughter who is singing. After finally realizing her daughter’s potential as a singer, she took her to talent shows where she emerged a winner.
She was signed by prestigious jive records but wanted to write her own songs thus her contract got canceled. She finally signed a deal with Murder Inc. and her singing career officially began with them. She made her debut by singing rapper Big Pun in his single "How We Roll" which immediately topped the Billboards chart in the year 2001. Prior to releasing her debut album, she sang alongside various rappers who were signed with Murder Inc. Her debut single was titled "Foolish" and made its debut on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and that too in top 10 lists. Soon, she released her self-titled debut album which was a massive hit and set the record for the highest selling debut album from a female artist. She thus entered her name in the Guinness Book of World Records. For this album, she won a Grammy Award, the Soul Train Aretha Franklin Award, two American Music Awards, and eight Billboard Awards. Her following album titled Chapter II too was widely acclaimed. Her following albums like Concrete Rose and The Declaration failed to match the success of her previous albums. She collaborated with superstar rapper Nelly and Akon on the song “Body on Me”.
In addition to singing, she has also enjoyed a highly successful acting career as well. She has earned a niche for herself as an actress by giving some breathe taking performance in films like Coach Carter and Tucker Must Die. She has also acted in various acclaimed series like American Dreams, Army Wives, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Proud Family among others.