Ashanti Gets ‘Carter’ for First Film

Monday, January 5, 2004
by Chris Gardner

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Grammy-nominated songstress Ashanti is headed to the big screen for the first time, scoring a supporting role in “Coach Carter,” a fact-based basketball drama starring Samuel L. Jackson.

The Paramount Pictures project revolves around Richmond (Calif.) High School coach Ken Carter, who made national news in 1999 when he benched his entire undefeated basketball team for poor academic performance. He forfeited two league games and made the gym off-limits until students raised their grades, a move that drew praise and criticism from parents and school officials.

Ashanti will play Kyra, the newly pregnant girlfriend of one of the basketball players to be played by Rob Brown of “Finding Forrester” fame.

Robert Ri’chard, a series regular on “One on One,” also has joined the cast, landing a meaty role as Marcus Carter, the son of Jackson’s character and one of the team’s top players.

Shooting is scheduled to start this month with Thomas Carter (“Save the Last Dance”) at the helm.

Ashanti’s second album, “Chapter II,” debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. pop albums charts in July, and the singer will vie for three Grammy Awards next month.

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