Ashanti’s Violent “Gotchagram” Causes Controversy

R n’ B singer Ashanti has come under fire from civil rights leaders after launching a promotional website that greets visitors with a news report about a fake murder spree. Dozens of concerned parents and religious heads gathered outside the Los Angeles offices of her record label Universal/Motown on Tuesday to protest the controversial site and demand it be taken down. The site’s news report – which users can personalise by selecting a “weapon of choice” and “victim” – claims to be linked to Ashanti’s revenge-themed music video for new single The Way That I Love You, in which the singer plays a woman who stabs her cheating boyfriend to death. Najee Ali, head of Project Islamic Hope and one of the protest’s organisers, has branded the singer’s promotional stunt a “career mistake”, insisting violence should never be used to settle disputes. Ali tells MTV.com, “There are a lot of outraged parents who feel that the type of message and imagery that promotes violence as a tool for solving domestic relation problems is inappropriate.

“Universal should recognise that they have corporate responsibility for promoting their artists and material that they want us to purchase.”But the star’s publicist Michelle Huff claims the video was intended to be a parody in the style of U.S. comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live. In a statement, she adds: “The website… is not controlled by Ashanti nor is it her creative work… It is important to point out that Ashanti’s history of creative expression does not glorify violence at all.”

Protestors are planning another rally in New York next week, however the TheWayThatILoveYou.com website that hosts the “Gotchagram” has now been removed by the singer’s label.

And in other Ashanti news, Hits Daily Double has reported “The Declaration” as opening in 6th place on the albums charts with sales of just over 80,000 copies. Official Sound Scan numbers are expected to be released later on tonight.

36 Comments

  1. This is ridiculous! This site was intended for promotional use for the album. Some of us need to get a grip! We have truly serious issues to address in our community and Ashanti’s website is not the cause of it…

  2. From what I’ve been hearing Ashanti is already struggling to stay afloat in the music biz. I’m just sorry that her name is involved in this. This could really hurt her even more. Especially now since it seems she is working harder these days.

  3. What a tacky idea. Anything to sell a CD, I guess. Wasn’t buying it anyway…

    Off topic: Why doesn’t this site work with Firefox anymore? It only loads two ads at the top of the page for me.

  4. Goodness gracious! Get over it,,,,like people listening to Ashanti’s music are going to run out and kill someone because she “recommended” or hinted to it. I’m from Long Island so I support Ashanti because of that alone but we all know, she’s no Beyonce, or Alicia Keys! Let the girl get her promotion on, she been missing for a minute.

  5. its officially a wrap for her career ! it was nice to know you ashanti

  6. Soooo, nobody had a problem when she was affiliated with a record label called “Murder Inc.”???? People runnin around talkin bout…”It’s murderrrrr….” Man, people just be TRYIN to find somethin to rally about these days. They need be worried about the REALITY of black on black crime, and crime period, instead of a darn website.

    And rkj, I have that problem too.

  7. Some Black people are sooooo crazy and over the top.. We just love to seek out our next BLACK victim and point the blame them. When did celebrities become responsible for what is happening in America? If you are going to protest videos why not throw Kayne Wests’ music video where the actress clearly beats him to death and puts him in the trunk of the car? Or the SEX commercials that come on ABC and Daytime TV that are clearly inappropriate for young kids. I watched Ashanti’s music video, and she clearly had a DREAM of how upset she was after her man cheated, but at the end it’s not worth it.. Just walk away which she did at the end of the video. I think that was the whole message of the video, why not take the overall point of it, instead of looking for the inbetweens. Same senerio of the Rev. Wright sermon, they showed us a clip and we didn’t hear or understand the whole sermon.

    I have a problem with hating and dissing young black people that are working out there. If you don’t like them, don’t support, keep your mouth closed and move on..

  8. There are a lot of outraged parents who feel that the type of message and imagery that promotes violence as a tool for solving domestic relation problems is inappropriate.

    Wasn’t the dream/video FICTION?

    Wasn’t this dream/video MILD compared to some music videos out there from other types of music artists?

    Wasn’t the ‘fake murder spree’ to go along with the ‘fake video’ and totally fictitious story in which Ashanti ACTED and SANG in? along with her co-star, that dude from Madea’s plays?

    *sighs*

    I just think it was a little much to get obsessed over, too.

    Hate to hear her album isn’t doing well.

  9. @ Nia & Hello
    Ditto
    We as a nation no longer know what is really important anymore. Folks are getting offended over the wrong thing or person. Let’s march or protest the war or the state of access to health care. Crime & violence = Ashanti? Somebody is smokin crack.

  10. In regards to the Ashanti website, one individual said, “What a tacky idea.” Indeed. As to such websites as being the sole source of crime, some individuals have said that “Ashanti’s website is not the ’cause of it…” Another individual has said that we should be more concerned with “the reality of black on black crime, and crime period, instead of a darn website.” Very well said. However, although such websites are not the sole source of crime, they certainly don’t help. They are a part of our popular culture and our popular culture has become infested with violence. Just look at an episode of the Power Rangers. They can’t even get through one half-hour show with out getting into a fist fight. And these are supposed to be the good guys!!! Look at the video games such as Grand Theft Auto…. violence from beginning to end. Our movies are no different. TV has gone down the toilet with such things as WWE pro wrestling. Indeed, what about internet websites? Hmmm? What about a site that shows Paris Hilton? I would hate for your young kids to grow up to think that her behavior is normal and OK. Hell, she’s a convicted drunk driver, she ‘s a high school drop out and she spends the majority of her time huffing and puffing on those no-name cigarettes. What I’m getting at is that when people see enough violence, they become indifferent to it and come to think that it’s a normal way to take care their problems, especially children. That Ashanti website was nothing but filth and it needed to be removed. If Ashanti had nothing to do with that site, then she needs to get those resposible for it and sue the holy s-h-i-t out of them. And by the way, I have, on several occassions, met and talk with Mr. Najee Ali. He works endlessly and tirelessly doing what he can do for the benefit of the Afro-American community here in Los Angeles. I wish him all the best.

  11. Ok this was clearly a bad marketing ploy but it is the record label and no Ashanti who should catch heat for this. Wanting to bulk up sales they went overboard a bit but still this is hardly newsworthy if you ask me. As for Najee Ali, he is an opportunist who has appointed himself the voice of Black people in California. He makes me sick. He is nothing but a low budget ambulance chaser.

  12. @ smooth thug,

    you can’t be serious right?? true the website was not needed, I think most agree with that, but it didn’t warrant a protest and all that uproar. if all the things you listed are adding to the violence in our community then why not protest those? why not protest EVERY violent music video that is on tv? or all the movies, and games, etc…?

  13. Don’t let them see “Snapped” on WE, that’ll really bring on some bad ideas. I’ve been playing Grand Theft Auto all day, I’m in no place to comment. XD Perhaps I’m just a bit desensitized to these kinds of things. The news, now that’s something I can’t watch most of the times.

  14. Why ARe All of the sudden black parents are “concerned?” where are they when their daughters watch rihanna or beyonce on the tv then try to dress like them? where are the parents when their son watch the game or 50 cent and start calling women b-i-tches?
    they need to boycott pornographic like behavior / gang related video and much more people are so hypocrite no one is saying anything about everything else but ashanto because she doesnt have an intimidating father to back her up
    I admit that it is disturbing when you really give it a tought but i first glance when i received one i laughed out loud and send one back up
    Black people are so hypocrite all of the sudden parents are responsible? where have you been all along? THis is some b-u-llshit with or without ashanti if your daughter is set to become a murderer she will nothing that you can say or do will change that so get a life !!!!!!

  15. As for Najee Ali, he is an opportunist who has appointed himself the voice of Black people in California He is nothing but a low budget ambulance chaser.

    Cosign he need to be his own da-mn voice because he choose to attack the weaker

  16. @ Amber: Yes, GTA IV, Brand New. I know this is off-topic, but it’s plain awesome. I’m a gamer at heart, yes I am.

  17. I feel you my sista….I WANT ALL MY TURE GAMERS TO STAND UP! LOL

  18. In midst of recent controversy regarding Ashanti and her video, ‘The Way That I Love You’, and her site which host the ‘Gotchagram’, http://thewaythatiloveyou.com, I would like to take the time out to dismiss the acquisitions that Ashanti deliberately used the material in terms of promoting violence, let alone a desperate attempt to ‘sell records’. Late protest that have sparked are well past due, and if the video or the site were nearly as big of a problem that the situation suggest, then the problem should have been brought to light well before June 10th, 2008. The video was shot in February 2008, and was released February 28th, 2008. The case prompts a four month difference.

    Since then the video has been well received by the general-media and has received a decent amount of airplay. Directed by Kevin Bray, Ashanti portrays a woman who has ‘Snapped’ on her significant other because she found out that he was cheating. The concept itself came from a show broad cast on television via Oh Oxygen Network, Snapped.

    No where in the video does Ashanti showcase an act of violence. She has also stated numerous times in countless interviews that she is all about the peace and does not condone violence. The video is simply an artistic expression for the lead single for her latest LP, ‘The Declaration’, released June 3rd, 2008.

    If Ashanti’s video appears as being ‘too violent’, and promotes the violence to our youth, then it’s about time to seriously reevaluate what we allow on television. ‘Snapped’, in example, showcases everything depicted in Ashanti’s video, and then some. There are other shows that also showcase violence, gore, and brutality. MTV host a show entitled ‘Scarred’, which is by far more brutal than Ashanti’s video, in which need not go into detail. Other shows include Captured, Americas Most Wanted, and a number of reality shows that showcase violence. Also, on http://www.youtube.com, which is a very popular website, viewed by millions daily, there are many videos hosted that promote much harsh violence with tags such as ‘street fights’, ‘school fights’, ‘gang fights bloods vs crips’, and gang violence’.

    Should we protest them too? If Ashanti’s video need be, then we should probably consider the possibility.

    The ‘Gotchagram’, which has been up for more than two months, is nothing more than a mere joke. Users are prompted to include their name and a victim’s name, followed by a choice of weapons to use, and the reason why this ‘victim’ has been murdered. Thus, a fake news report is sent to the victims email, and at the end of the parody an electronic voice disclaims the news report and states exclusively that Ashanti and her team do not promote violence. To take matters a step further, whilst in promotion for her latest LP, Ashanti has not mentioned the Gotchagram as a part of her campaign, but instead another site, entitled I Declare Me.

    This site, which can be viewed at http://ideclareme.com, is a positive website for women who are going through problems to go to and express their emotions and tell their story. In turn, Ashanti will personally blog back and sponsor scholarships. This is only one of the positive things that Ashanti is doing for the youth to go along with the many other positive things she has done in the past, including her Lid Rock campaign in 2003.

    In contrast to the recent negative attention Ashanti has received, Ashanti has never been about violence, and anyone who knows her would know that. She is a woman who has always promoted peace, love, and happiness. She wears a permanent smile whilst out in public, and has always taken her time to do whatever it was that she could when possible, though triumphed in her own personal relationships.

    Instead of paying attention to a simple error, which has been corrected with the link to the ‘Gotchagram’ being removed, the attention need not be on Ashanti, but on the more serious problems that go about in our communities, and that showcase on television. Like the fact that a female is allowed to take off her clothes and erotically expose themselves on camera for a music video, but she can’t hold a knife on television. Like the fact that a knife probably kills less people annually than AIDS/HIV. Or even like the fact that most influence comes from the events that happen in the home area.

    Parents tend use the media as an excuse for their children behaving the way that they do nowadays. Truth be told, if any parent were truly that concerned, the media would not play a role in raising or influencing their children. Instead of going out to protest against a cause as useless as a music video by Ashanti, maybe they should be at the park with their child(ren), teaching them what’s wrong from right. That is their job, not Ashanti’s.

    Leave Ashanti be.

  19. It is amazing what people would go out there way to protest about and shout about….

    Yet still there are things in the world going on more important than this that people won’t say a thing about….

    If Ashanti wants to use this type of promotion to get album sales, then by all means do it… (it is a bit strange but then the stranger the better in the music industry I guess )

    Im sure if she was to take her clothes off and pose in a magazine if wouldn’t cause as much up roar….

  20. All i have to say is go Ashanti. It seems like alot of artist can not catch a break about anything. I think she step her game up and very pretty woman. Im just tired not seeing good talent out here anymore. Where are the songs that have meaning we have all this pop crap and nasty ass song out here im just tired of it all, but ashanti album is really good.

  21. I think the problem is those gotchagrams. I think that was totally out of line. Just a bad promotional campaign. They should have done better. I have no problem with the video or the message of the song.

  22. What difference does it make. Her new album is a flop anyway. It only sold 89,000. Her music career is basically over.

  23. Preach Erik Hayes.

    You don’t hear anything about her I Declare Me campaign which is very positive and inspirational and it is supposed to help motivate. The album did not sale very well, but it actually is a damn good album. I find it hard to believe that Ray J’s album sold more in the first week than hers.

    Anyway, I wish her all the luck in the world and as long as she keeps the faith she will make it. For all we know the album sales may start to increase since she has been promoting the hell out of the album lately.

  24. “Jazzybelle”, I’m as serious as cancer! The website didn’t call for a “protest” and an “uproar” you say? That is your opinion. Don’t get me wrong. I will stand shoulder to should with you to defend your right to express that opinion. Now, “Jazzybelle”, you know just as well as I do that there are those amongst us who will say that studies have shown that there is no direct relationship between what we see and hear and violent behavior. True. However, I can also direct individuals to libraries at colleges and universities to read academic/scholarly journals that say there is a direct link to what we see and hear and violence; journals such as the Journal of the American Psychological Association, the Journal of the American Sociological Association, the Journal of the American Association of Social Workers, etc.
    Protest all the elements that foster violence in the community? I’m all for that. “Roe”, since you seem to know something about Los Angeles, dig this… when it comes to protesting violence in the community and the elements that foster it, I will stand side by side with Najee Ali and Project Islamic Hope, with Earl Olfari Huchinson of the Los Angeles Urban Round Table Discussion Group, and with Danny Bakewell of the Brotherhood Crusade. I can just hear some individuals now, “What’s up with ‘Smooth Thug”? He’s anti ‘games’, anti ‘Every violent music video’, anti ‘movies’. ” No, no, no, y’all. “Smooth Thug” is anti WRONG!!!

  25. Bythe way, y’all. Please google the name Fannie Lou Hamer. She was a very interesting lady… she was “anti WRONG” too

  26. Am I the only one who was disturbed by the “black kids will die” thing or something? Was that really necessary? C’mon man.

  27. chanté when you go on the website there is a thing where you cann fill with the name of the person you wish to “kill” and your name someone did it on purpose to put “black children will die ” its pathetic attempt to make the matters seems worse than it is

  28. What is the point of this website…why can’t we promote things that are uplifting.

  29. tell najee whatever to check this out :
    then go and have an uprise
    sucker

  30. This is so messed up. Ashanti is not the first artist to have violence in her video. Rappers and pop videos have disturbing images also.

    But it seems like her career has been in a slump since Beyonce hit the scene with Crazy In Love five years ago. This surely was a gimmick to promote CD sales. Unfortunately, this is nothing but career suicide. RIP Ashanti’s career.

  31. No sweetie your wrong. Her first three albums ALL went Platinum. As a matter of fact her second album knocked B out of the #1 spot for two weeks. So do your research and get your facts right. For the record the only thing that slowed her career down was the legal case with Irv and the label. Other than that SHE’s BACK and we are loving it. The DECLARATION is a HOT cd. Her latest video was very original and creative as was Foolish, Rain on me and Only you. But as we can see she’s back and doing well. Stepped away off the scene for four years and still came back #2 on Itunes and #6 on the Billboards in her first week. How many others can do that? Not many. Please believe the other members of Destiny’s child wish they had this type of status. Just so you know you don’t have to hate Ashanti to show fan support for Beyonce. It is possible to be a fan of both artist for what they bring to the table.

  32. Sorry just me, but Ashanti’s new album is a flop. It only sold 80,000. And yes, her career has suffered every since “Crazy In Love”. Beyonce put Ashanti to shame and still is. Ashanti even said herself recently that she wanted to give Beyonce some competition this year, well guess what, it ain’t gonna happen. Beyonce just made Forbes list, has tons of endorsements, movies lined up and when her next album drops, just watch how many copies it sells in the first week. She will send Ashanti home crying to her momma. That is not hating, that is a fact.

  33. Of course you’re hating. It’s just that you are in denial. All of my facts are true and accurate. I notice you didn’t and couldn’t discredit anthing that I wrote in my comments. It appears that you only wanted to continue to spread hate about Ashanti. Only jealous people do stuff like that. Any real woman or true fan of either artist would’ve accepted the last sentence of my comments. To my knowledge Ashanti has received many good reviews on this album and everyone that I know personally who has heard this album likes it. As of today it has been out for 15 days and is #2 on Itunes and #6 on the charts. Keep in mind this is after not putting out an album in four years. Sorry babe, those numbers dont define a flop. I am a fan of both Ashanti and Beyonce, but I must say that B-day cannot hold a candle to the Declaration. The Declartion is a very good CD. Good job ASHANTI. good job.

  34. Beyonce is a Mega-Superstar. Ashanti is just a twinkle. LOL.

Comments are closed.