In recent months, Ashanti has begun pulling back the curtain on the misogynistic and predatory power imbalances she has encountered working in the music industry for the past two decades. Her latest divulgence arrived during an appearance on the Breakfast Club, where she resurfaced claims that an unnamed producer offered her the ultimatum of having shower sex with him or handing over $80,000 in exchange for two songs they worked on together.
“We did two records together, he was like, ‘Okay, I’m not gonna charge you, you know you my homie,’” she recalled. “When it came time to put it on the album, he was like, ‘well, let’s take a shower together.’ I thought he was joking, and then he was like, ‘Nah, I’m dead serious. Let’s go out, or let’s take a shower together, and I’ll give you the records. If not, I need 40 racks per record.’”
Ashanti explained that she had only worked with the producer for a few weeks when the suggestion was made. When she first spoke about the incident briefly in a 2018 interview with Access Live, she shared that “it felt disrespectful, obviously,” and added that she had heard similar stories from other women in the music industry. “It’s really creepy, it’s really, really sad,” she added.
In 2020, she provided an update on the claim during an appearance on SiriusXM’s Conversations with Maria Menounos. “The way that apology came in, I actually got three records for free,” she said, though the apology allegedly was only issued after she made a number of calls to friends and family to confront the producer. “And I got two of them mixed and mastered for free also.”
Ashanti recently spoke out against her past collaborator Irv Gotti, who founded Murder Inc. and produced a number of the singer’s earliest records, after he made unsupported claims on Drink Champs that they had been in a romantic relationship.
“Irv has flat-out lied about a lot of things,” Ashanti told Angie Martinez on the IRL podcast in October. “I definitely feel like manipulation played a heavy part in me and Irv’s situation.” The singer explained that the “narcissistic” producer would tell her, “I made you fuckable,” in addition to retaliating against her dating Nelly by withholding studio access. She added: “You know what he said to me? He said, ‘Nah, you want to be with Nelly? Go sign to Derrty Entertainment. We don’t want you.’”
On the Breakfast Club, Ashanti explained that while she would normally withhold comment on this manner of encounters, an uptick in women sharing their own stories about misogynistic men in the music industry’s own #MeToo reckoning has prompted her to better utilize her long-standing platform.
“I’ve been through a lot of interviews – and sometimes I speak, but most of the time I don’t,” Ashanti said. “I feel like at this point, at 20 years being in, and where we are in social media and what we’re doing to progressively grow in this industry, I feel like just for a woman I had to come out and just say my peace.”