Ashanti was honored on Thursday (April 7) with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Before the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter gave her speech, she was introduced by close industry friends, including rapper Ja Rule and actress Tichina Arnold, who each delivered speeches.
Dressed in a white fitted pants suit with a lengthy ponytail, Ashanti took the podium for nine minutes to speak about getting to this extraordinary moment in her career. She thanked her family and friends and the faithful team that’s helped sustain her place in this industry. She also tipped her hat to Arnold and Ja Rule for their lasting friendship and participation in the ceremony.
Ashanti even told a story about how her mother bought her a souvenir of a Walk of Fame star while mixing her first album, manifesting this dream would one day come true.
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The ceremony comes fresh off the heels of Ashanti celebrating the 20th anniversary of her self-titled debut album. Released in 2002, Ashanti became an out-of-the-box hit, winning the inaugural Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Album.
The LP eventually placed her name in the Guinness Book of World Records by the most albums sold in the first week by any debut female artist in Billboard history.
Most recently, Ashanti has collaborated with EQ Exchange on an exclusive NFT (non-fungible token) collection to coincide with the 20th anniversary of her record-breaking debut album. Part of the deal came with a re-packaging of the iconic cover artwork.
The one-of-kind collection, bundled into four different tiers, allows fans premium passes to perks, ranging from personalized merchandise and a one-on-one Zoom call with Ashanti to attending a studio session and an awards ceremony alongside the R&B veteran. Hours before she accepted her star, she sold out of the Amethyst tier.
After gaining ownership of her masters, Ashanti, as promised, is re-recording her 2002 album. Those a part of the NFT family will get first dibs at hearing the refreshed tracks.
A new children’s picture book is next on Ashanti’s to-do list. Arriving on July 19, My Name is a Story was self-penned to “remind children that every name is special and deserves to be honored and celebrated.” The book features illustrations by Monica Mikai.
Watch Ashanti’s acceptance speech below.