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In the "Rain on Me" mini-movie music video—directed by Hype Williams and co-starring Larenz Tate—Ashanti portrays a troubled young woman in an abusive relationship.
She was nominated as Best New Artist and "Foolish" was nominated in the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance category.
In the same year, Ashanti was featured on fellow labelmate Cadillac Tah's singles "Pov City Anthem" and "Just Like a Thug". Ashanti became the first female to occupy the top two positions on the U. Billboard Hot 100 chart simultaneously when "Always on Time" and "What's Luv? Following the success of her collaborations with Ja Rule and Fat Joe, Ashanti released her debut single, "Foolish", which contains a sample of the 1983 song "Stay with Me" by De Barge (also utilized by The Notorious B. This is her biggest success to date, spending ten weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100. Ashanti wrote the album's twelve tracks, most of which were written on the spot in the studio.
She also appeared on the 2001 The Fast and the Furious soundtrack as a featured artist on Vita's 2001 hip hop remake of Madonna's "Justify My Love" and on the solo track "When a Man Does Wrong". She became the second artist (after The Beatles) to have their first three chart entries in the top ten of the Hot 100 simultaneously. Ashanti's follow-up singles, "Happy" and "Baby", were not as successful as her debut single but peaked inside the top ten and top twenty in the U. Ashanti's debut album earned her many awards, including eight Billboard Music Awards, two American Music Awards, and a Grammy Award in 2003 for Best Contemporary R&B Album.
She also received a Comet Award and two Soul Train Music Awards that same year.
Ashanti became the subject of controversy when it was announced that she would receive the Soul Train Aretha Franklin Award for "Entertainer of the Year", a high school student took offense and started an on-line petition against her, explaining to The Seattle Times that she was too new to deserve the award.