Ashanti is named after an African tribe.
The 41-year-old pop star - whose full name is Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas - admitted that her unique moniker had caused confusion to other children growing up but revealed that it means "woman of strength" and originated from a tribe in the West African country of Ghana.
She said: "Growing up having a very unique name, there were moments. I remember there was circle time and the teacher would call out names. The kids would go, ‘Why doesn't her name sound like this or that?' My name originates in Ghana. When you travel outside of the country, sometimes the women are considered low on the totem pole. But there's a tribe of people called the Ashanti and in this specific tribe, the women run things. It means woman of strength and I thought this is perfect for me."
The 'Rock Wit U' hitmaker - who is currently single but previously had a ten-year relationship with fellow musician Nelly - has penned her first children's book titled 'My Name Is a Story' and was inspired by her own life to write a book about "embracing" unusual first names.
She told EOnline: "I want this to resonate with kids who don't necessarily have a unique name so they know not to make fun of a person that has a unique name and to know it's okay if that name doesn't sound familiar to you. Don't make fun of it, embrace it. Stop to think about how someone else may feel. There's a story behind that. That's why that name is different."
Meanwhile, the Grammy Award-winning singer - who has released six albums during her career and sold almost 15 million records worldwide - added that being known under a mononym was the "only thing" that served her well after suffering three ill-fated record deals.
She said: "When I would go for my auditions—and I had three failed records deals so it wasn't easy—the one thing people liked is that I had one name. They always dropped my last name."