Ashanti recalls dealing with sexual harassment during her career

Despite this and other dark sides of the music industry, the Grammy winner continues to thrive with the support of a close-knit team.

Ashanti has experienced much success during her career. However, she endured hardship along the way, particularly in the form of sexual harassment.

The Grammy Award-winner spoke to People about some of the harassment that she’s dealt with at different points in her career. As of late, Irv Gotti, her former label boss at Murder Inc., has been very public about his sexual exploits with Ashanti during their collaboration on her first hit songs.

Ashanti denied these allegations. “I had love for Irv,” Ashanti told People. “We had our situation, but I think he blew it out of proportion.”

2021 Soul Train Awards - Show
Ashanti, center, has experienced a great deal of success during her music career but also has been exposed to the underbelly of the industry. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

The producer-mogul spoke ill of Ashanti on platforms like the “Drink Champs” podcast and “The Murder Inc. Story,” a BET documentary about the label. “I think he began to get really bitter,” Ashanti said. “As a man, sometimes you get hurt. Usually, you move on, but some guys aren’t able to.”

She also revealed an incident involving a male record producer who attempted to barter music for perceived sexual favors. She said he initially offered to give her the tracks but soon changed his tune, telling her to shower with him or pay him $40,000 per track.

“I really, genuinely thought he was joking. You can feel like someone’s cool, and in the back of their mind, they have an ulterior motive,” she said. “Things like that can happen to Ashanti, so it can happen to anyone — and I’ve heard worse stories.”

Through it all, Ashanti has continued to receive accolades for her accomplishments, from gaining the Lady of Soul honor at the 2021 Soul Train Awards and acquiring a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame earlier this year. She hopes that her example of resilience can inspire others.

“Honestly, I’m not sure if another artist would be able to deal with what I’ve dealt with,” she said.

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