Born: October 13, 1980
Date of Birth: October 13, 1980
Birth name: Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas
Born in Long Island, New York, Ashanti's career was launched in her early teens when she was discovered singing at a talent show. Her self-titled debut album, released in 2002, sold more copies in its first week of release than any first-time female solo artist in the history of Soundscan. At the same time, her first single, "Foolish," shot to the top of Billboard's Hot 100 Singles chart.
Also in 2002, she made history by becoming the first female to have her first three chart entries all land in the top 10 of The Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. In 2003, she won a Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B album, seven Billboard Awards, two American Music Awards, The Lady of Soul Aretha Franklin Entertainer of the Year Award and a 2002 BET Award for Best New Artist.
Ashanti made her acting debut in 2002, playing herself on an episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. She followed that up by portraying Dionne Warwick in the TV series American Dreams in December 2002, then took on the role of Lissa for an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which aired in February 2003.
The experience prepared her for her feature film debut, playing Kyra in Coach Carter (2005), starring Samuel L. Jackson. The film opened up in the No. 1 spot at the domestic box office, earning over $29 million in its first weekend. Ashanti then played the lead role of Dorothy in the 2005 ABC-TV movie, The Muppets' Wizard of Oz.