Ashanti was born on October 13, 1980, in Glen Cove, New York. She inherited a zest for music from her mother Tina, a former dance teacher, and her father Ken-Kaide, a former singer. Her father is half Chinese American and half African American. Her mother is Dominican and African American. 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. With actress and choreographer Debbie Allen at the helm, Ashanti also performed in the Disney TV film Polly alongside stars Keshia Knight Pulliam and Phylicia Rashad, the 1994 Caribbean Awards and dancing with Judith Jamison of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company.
Ashanti displayed a knack for singing when she was six by singing in a gospel choir. Her love of music continued to rise as she attended high school. Ashanti also wrote 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 2000.4 By the time she hit puberty, her mom was sending out demo tapes of her daughter's vocal talents, which led to a record deal with Jive Records in 1994. Unfortunately, this relationship soured when Jive tried to make the soulful singing teen into a run-of-the-mill pop star.
Ashanti regrouped by throwing herself into schoolwork and running on her school's track team, which earned her athletic scholarships to Princeton & Hampton University. But she put college pursuits aside when Epic Records came calling with a contract in 1998. However, the label's management changes quickly left Ashanti out in the cold. Undaunted, she continued to croon at local New York clubs and began hanging out at the Murder Inc. recording studio, hoping for another big break to be signed. Eventutally got signed.
Ashanti Rox. Stop comparing her 2 Beyonce.
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