Actress and Grammy-winning hit-maker Ashanti, a Glen Cove native, has announced that she has contracted the coronavirus, forcing the postponement of that night's scheduled online musical battle between herself and Keyshia Cole.
"Hey y'all I can't believe I'm saying this but I tested positive for COVID-19," the multiplatinum R&B singer, 40, posted on Instagram on Saturday. "I'm ok and not in any pain." Referencing the virtual-concert series by promoter NTWRK, she assured, "I'm actually down to do the Verzuz from my house… we're trying to figure it all out!!!"
Singer Tamar Braxton and actress Holly Robinson Peete posted supportive comments.
Shortly afterward, however, a message on the concert series' Instagram account said the show has been rescheduled for Jan. 9: "Unfortunately, we have to postpone tonight's @Ashanti vs @KeyshiaCole #VERZUZ. Ashanti tested positive for COVID-19 beforehand, and we cannot put anyone at risk in the process. First time this has struck us so close to showtime. We apologize to our incredible audience!"
After wishing Ashanti recovery, the message advised readers: "Wear a mask, stay inside, and take COVID-19 seriously. It's truly affecting our community."
Ashanti said in an Instagram video posted afterward she still wanted the show to go on that night. "I'm sure everybody is aware and saw my post and it's very, very crazy," she said. "Never in a million years did I think I would get COVID. I'm super bummed. I'm actually, I'm still ready to do it tonight, though."
Coughing twice, she said she and the computer company Apple had "been on the phone since, like, late last night, early this morning, trying to figure out how to do it … but we don't think that the technical aspect of things is going to be perfect."
In the message posted alongside the video, she accepted that the show was officially postponed. "We all go through lessons in life... and hopefully this serves as a lesson that this pandemic is very real...," Ashanti wrote. "[T]hank you guys so much for all of your love and prayers...Thank you to everyone supporting the verzuz... much love to @keyshiacole and we'll see y'all on January 9th!!! 2021 Women Empowerment."
R&B singer Cole, 39, has not commented publicly.
During the coronavirus pandemic's first wave in April, Ashanti — born Ashanti Douglas, she was a Glen Cove High School track-team standout — donated 30,000 N95 face masks to Northwell Health's Glen Cove Hospital, where she was born, as well as breakfasts for the midnight-to-8 a.m. health team and for the morning shift.
"It makes my day to be able to say I was born in this hospital, and I will always rep Long Island people who are going through such terrible times," she told Newsday at the time. "Honestly, I've been looking at the numbers of deaths and hearing the stories about the front-liners, and being from Long Island, well, sometimes it seems people forget about us."