June 13, 2008 / 1:12 AM / 10 years ago

Ashanti's bloody videos spark protest

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Blood-splattered videos for R&B singer-songwriter Ashanti’s single “The Way That I Love You” sparked a protest by demonstrators in Los Angeles, prompting the artist and Universal Records to remove the clips from the Internet.

Singer Ashanti performs on ABC's "Good Morning America" show in New York's Bryant Park June 6, 2008. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Led by civil-rights organization Project Islamic Hope and its leader, Najee Ali, more than two dozen parents and religious leaders gathered outside the West Coast Universal/Motown offices on Tuesday (June 10) to voice their displeasure with the videos.

One clip features a scorned lover, played by Ashanti, who gets revenge on her cheating boyfriend by stabbing him to death. Images include a murder scene with a bloody knife and the boyfriend’s body in a tub.

A separate promotional video includes a fake news reports about a killing spree allegedly inspired by Ashanti’s love crime, as well as bloody walls with the words “black children will die” smeared on them. Before the protest, the promo video was viewable on TheWayThatILoveYou.com, but the site has since been removed.

The site allowed visitors to send customized versions of the promotional video called “Gotchagrams,” with options to input a friend’s name, their “crime” and “weapon of choice.”

“Following discussions with Ashanti, we have jointly decided to remove the TheWayThatILoveYou.com website that hosts the Gotchagram,” reads a statement from Universal. “Ashanti and her music have always been about self-empowerment and addressing the issues that are most meaningful to her. We stand by our artist and her creative choices.”

“The Way That I Love You” is the first single from her new album, “The Declaration,” which debuts this week at No. 6 on the Billboard 200.


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