If there’s one woman who epitomizes the phrase “Black don’t crack,” it’s Ashanti. As the legendary singer turns 42 today, she still looks incredible. Check out some photos that show you just that below!
Ashanti was born in Glen Cove, New York. Her mother first discovered her full singing potential when she overheard Ashanti singing Mary J. Blige’s “Reminisce” at the age of 12. Around the same time, she got her first taste of acting as an extra in Spike Lee‘s Malcolm X (1992) and in Ted Demme’s Who’s the Man? Additionally, she had a couple of minor appearances in music videos, such as KRS-One‘s “MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know” as well as 8-Off’s “Ghetto Girl”. While she was in high school, she began writing songs and performing at local talent shows and festivals. It wasn’t until she began hanging out at the Murder Inc studio that she got her big break.
Murder Inc’s CEO Irv Gotti noticed Ashanti because of her vocal skills. She wrote hooks for his rap artists and also performed duets with them. After working with the likes of Big Pun, Fat Joe and label mate Ja Rule, Ashanti became a household name. She became the first female to occupy the top two positions on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart simultaneously when “Always on Time” and “What’s Luv?” were at numbers one and two, respectively. After the success of the duets, Ashanti finally released her self-titled debut album and the rest was basically history.
Ashanti has six studio albums (Ashanti (2002), Chapter II (2003), Ashanti’s Christmas (2003), Concrete Rose (2004), The Declaration (2008), Braveheart (2014) and a host of awards to show for them including two American Music Awards, eight Billboard Awards and a Grammy. She hasn’t released her own album in since 2014 but still occasionally drops a single or lends her vocals to a remix or feature. Outside of music, she continues to dibble in acting. She also finds time to raise awareness about domestic violence, sickle cell research, discrimination against the LGBT community and cancer. On top of her philanthropy, she collaborated with PrettyLittleThing to release her own swimwear line. We absolutely love a well rounded Queen. To celebrate her birthday, check out her sexiest photos below! HAPPY 42ND BIRTHDAY ASHANTI!