At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, artists and producers in the music industry were looking for new ways to connect with their audiences online since in-person events were cancelled for the foreseeable future. The popular music competition series Verzuz was born, and has since pitted veteran artists against each other in a friendly battle to see who has had more hits throughout their career. R&B singers Ashanti and Keyshia Cole were scheduled for a highly anticipated battle in December 2020.
Ashanti and Keyshia Cole were set to face off on the ‘Verzuz’ stage in December 2020
In one of Verzuz‘s most highly anticipated R&B matchups, Ashanti and Keyshia Cole were set to go head to head and hit for hit just a week before Christmas in 2020. But just hours before they were set to take the stage, Ashanti revealed that she had tested positive for COVID-19.
“Hey y’all, I can’t believe I’m saying this but I tested positive for COVID-19,” Ashanti said in an Instagram post. She added that she had a mild case of the coronavirus and felt “OK and not in any pain.”
Ashanti discussed how she contracted the virus in an Instagram Live that same night. “I actually got it from a family member when I came home [from traveling around Africa],” she said honestly. “I came home and I hugged a family member who ended up being positive. I didn’t know he was positive; he didn’t know he was positive, so when he went to get tested, I was like, ‘Oh, f*ck.’”
Ashanti and Keyshia Cole’s ‘Verzuz’ battle had to be postponed
In the immediate aftermath of the announcement, Ashanti was determined to make the Verzuz battle work given the circumstances. She even suggested that she could do the battle remotely from her house to protect Cole and all the crew behind the scenes.
“I’m actually down to do the Verzuz from my house,” she said plainly. “We’re trying to figure it all out!!!”
Verzuz confirmed in an Instagram post that the battle was postponed until the new year. “Ashanti tested positive for COVID-19 beforehand, and we cannot put anyone at risk in the process,” the post read. “First time this has struck us so close to showtime.”
“Wear a mask, stay inside, and take COVID-19 seriously,” the post urged fans. “It’s truly affecting our community.”
The new date for the event was set for Saturday, January 9, 2021.
Ashanti tested negative for COVID-19
Ashanti kicked off 2021 with a health announcement just a week before her rescheduled Verzuz battle with Cole. “Starting off the New Year amazing and COVID-free!!!” she wrote in an Instagram post. “Got my negative results back two days ago! Happy New Year y’all! Let’s go 202WON. Thankugod!”
Ashanti added that both she and her parents are happy to be healthy and recovered from the coronavirus and starting the new year off on the right foot. “Feeling grateful,” she said honestly. “My parents and I got our negative results back right in time to start off the New Year healthy, happy, and loved.”
She went on to tell her fans that she wants nothing for the best for them in the new year, and declared that it would be a year of winning: “Wishing y’all all an amazing 202WON.”
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