Ashanti (full name is Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas) was born on October 13, 1980, in Glen Cove, New York. She is the daughter of dance teacher Tina Douglas and singer Ken-Kaide Thomas Douglas.

In childhood, Ashanti took dancing lessons at Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center and was a member of a church choir. At 16, she was noticed by P.Diddy’s Bad Boy Records, but she didn’t signed a contract with the company. When she got acquainted with Irv Gotti, he asked her to perform in duets with some other artists. Her first work was a background vocalist on rapper Big Pun’s song “How We Roll”.

Her debut solo song was “Foolish”. In 2002, her debut album “Ashanti” was released. It was certified as triple platinum in the US and got eight Billboard Music Awards, two American Music Awards and a Grammy Award. The same year, the singer was named the sexiest woman in music by FHM. In 2003, her second album “Chapter II” was presented as well as “Ashanti’s Christmas”. In 2004, she introduced her third platinum certified album “Concrete Rose” and DVD “Ashanti: The Making of a Star”, which contained exclusive photos and videos.

Since childhood, Ashanti is also an actress. Her first roles were in “Malcolm X” (1992) and “Who’s the Man?”. In 2005, she made her feature film debut in “Coach Carter”. She was cast for “Bride and Prejudice” (2004), “John Tucker Must Die” (2006), “Resident Evil: Extinction” (2007) and “Christmas in the City” (2013). In 2009, she played in production of “The Wiz” in the New York City Center Encores! Summer Stars.

From 2003 to 2012, Ashanti was in relationship with rapper Nelly.