“Miley is brave,” she tells me this week at Moon Nightclub at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, where she performed a 45-minute set of her greatest hits, plus the title track from her forthcoming album Braveheart. “She had heart. She wanted to have an amazing performance.”
She continues, “I felt bad about the aftermath. No one likes to be the butt of jokes. Nobody wants to see their body parts splattered across people’s Instagrams. She has a family. It’s embarrassing, so I did feel bad.”
The singer/actress, 32, can relate to being pressured into a questionable performance.
“I felt uncomfortable when I had to shoot my Rain On Me video because there were lovemaking scenes in the window sill [laughs], and that was my first time straddling a dude that wasn’t my boyfriend. It was Lorenz Tate. He had to put a towel on top of his sausage to make sure that there weren’t any accidents. [laughs]”
She adds, “Every time I watch that video, I’m like ‘oh my gosh’—he was yelling at me, calling me names during the shoot, and I slapped the s*** out of him.”
Despite her hesitation, the risk paid off in the end and she ultimately decided to roll with it to raise awareness about domestic violence.
“I got pressure from the head of my label, and the video director. They were like ‘come on—just do it.’ I knew it was the right thing to do. It showed some acting chops, and I got three movies. It worked out!”
Ashanti hit the big time in 2002, and considers her Guinness Book of World Records achievements for “fastest-selling debut female artist in music history, and also tying the Beatles in the number of top three consecutive records in the top five of Billboard Hot 100” among her proudest.
What’s the biggest challenge she’s overcome?
“Remaining a genuine person in this music industry, because it’s filled with betrayal, backstabbers, liars and demonic people [laughs]—crooks. I’m glad that I remained my humble self, because sometimes when you play in the mud, you get dirty. I’ve been fortunate enough to understand how to deal with certain people, but still maintain my integrity.”
What’s her secret to staying grounded?
“My parents, my family being there for me, supporting me through the good times, the bad times, the highs, the lows, everything in between, because, I still am who I am. Fame and money is great, but it’s nothing without morals, and genuine people who love you and care about you.”
Ashanti’s album, Braveheart, on her own Written Entertainment, comes out this fall! Will you buy it? What do you think of what she said about Miley? Tweet us @OKMagazine.