Ashanti Writes ‘My Name Is A Story’ Children’s Book To Encourage Children To Have Unique Names


Listen to our full conversation on my “Beyond the Fame” podcast. Ashanti has dominated radio with R&B, pop and hip-hop hits…

Listen to our full conversation on my “Beyond the Fame” podcast.

WTOP’s Jason Fraley Previews Ashanti’s “My Name is a Story” (Part 1)

Ashanti dominated radio with R&B, pop and hip-hop hits throughout the 2000s.

Today she publishes a semi-autobiographical children’s book “My name is a story.”

“Growing up with a different name, sometimes I was like, ‘How come my name is different?'” Ashanti told WTOP. “I just remember being in a circle in primary school and the teacher doing roll call, she calls this one, she comes up to my name and there’s a bit of hesitation. … I remember that feeling, so it’s definitely coming from a real place.

In the case of Ashanti, her name carries a powerful African origin story.

“My name comes from Ghana; it means “woman of strength”, said Ashanti. “Sometimes when we travel outside of the United States to foreign countries, women are sometimes considered a little lower on the totem pole, but in this specific tribe of people, women rule things! … When I found out that, I said to myself: ‘Yes! I will use it.’ “

In the storybook, the mother creates a fun acronym from the letters of the name.

“I love this section,” Ashanti said. “It’s something that says a lot to describe yourself, to describe the empowerment, to describe the feeling of confidence, to say, ‘Hey, that’s why my name is unique and different. The “A” stands for this, the “S” stands for this, the “H” stands for this… I think this is a really cool exercise for parents and grandparents to do with kids. »

What classic storybooks did she like to read as a child?

“It’s a good question!” Ashanti said. “In fact, my aunt used to buy me books that had my name on them. There is an Ashanti story, there is a story about a spider named Anansi. …I mean we all loved Dr. Seuss’ books too, but those are some of my favorite books.

Many parents reading this book grew up listening to his music, starting with his self-titled debut album “Ashanti” (2002), which won the Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Album with hits like “Foolish”, “Happy” and ” Baby”. His second album, “Chapter II” (2003), included “Rock Wit U (Aww Baby)”, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Just classic records,” Ashanti said. “I am celebrating the 20th anniversary… of my debut. The fact that we can go into these arenas and people are screaming these records, singing all the lyrics to these songs is truly a magical moment. …I’m super humble and blessed. … You just turn up the mic and people sing along to these records that I wrote!

She also recorded hit duets with Ja Rule, from the No. 1 hit “Always on Time” (2001) to the No. 2 hit “Mesmerize” (2003), as well as Fat Joe’s hit duet “What’s Luv? ” (2002).

“It was very different [with both]”, Ashanti said. “I think Ja was in the studio, but remember, we didn’t know each other at first, so it was kind of like, ‘Oh, OK, that’s the girl.’ It was [big] for me because they were already out, but I just remember feeling like I had a bunch of big brothers who were really excited. … We were just making awesome music.

She also acted in films like “Coach Carter” (2005) with Samuel L. Jackson.

“He was super welcoming,” Ashanti said. “He said, ‘I love that you take it seriously,’ because sometimes musicians don’t get the best rap when they go into acting, so he really respected and appreciated that I took it very seriously. serious with everything that was going on at that time, my album was out, I’m shooting music videos, I’m shooting, but I saved time.

More recently, she just released a new single which will be released soon.

“I have new music coming out, very excited about it,” Ashanti said. “I have a new single called ‘Falling for You’ which was written by myself and Bleu. I can’t wait for people to hear it. I played some snippets on Instagram and my DJ was spinning them after my concerts and the reaction has been incredible, so I’m very excited about that.

In the meantime, pick up a copy of “My Name is a Story” to read with your kids.

“My message is just to nurture and encourage kids with a unique name to embrace it,” Ashanti said. “I want kids to feel empowered, happy, and confident that they’re different and unique, and I want kids who don’t necessarily have a unique name to embrace it as well and be open-minded. Just because something is different doesn’t mean it’s wrong. »

WTOP’s Jason Fraley Previews Ashanti’s “My Name Is A Story” (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation on my “Beyond the Fame” podcast.

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