It's official! Nelly finally confirms that he and Ashanti have rekindled their romance. The "Country Grammar" rapper sat down with Love and Hip Hop Atlanta stars Rasheeda and Kirk Frost on Boss Moves with Rasheeda and revealed the news (although this comes at no surprise to many of us who've heard the rumors.) "Yeah, we cool again. I think it surprised both of us, though," he said, smiling. "It wasn't anything that was like, I don't think planned. I think we both was pretty much doing what we do, but sometimes, being separate, you understand one another more.
He continued, "You can be like, well, yo, let me see exactly what they see, you know, 'cause we all can be defensive sometimes in our own relationships. We know we wrong, but we gonna stand on it, but we all are victim to that." When Rasheeda asked him if it felt good to get back with the "Baby" singer, he replied, "Yeah."
"I mean because it's no pressure. Before, I feel like both of us are doing what we doing career-wise, and when you got so many people in the middle of it, it could be tough," he said.
After the news came out, Ashanti later hit the 2023 VMA's red carpet wearing a clutch with a picture of the couple plastered on it, and it was giving "my man, my man, my man." However, she told ETthat the photo on her clutch was taken at the 2003 VMA's 20 years ago. We love a full-circle moment.
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Rumors of the couple rekindling their relationship started in December 2021 when they performed their song "Body On Me" together during Power 98.3 and 96.1's Under the Mistletoe concert. From there, they were spotted together many more times, further fueling the rumors. The couple has a long history together filled with beautiful moments that make them one of the most beloved celebrity couples in music. Here's a look back on their love:
2003: Nelly and Ashanti Meet
Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images
Nelly and Ashanti meet for the first time at the Grammy Awards press conference in 2003. In a 2011 episode of VH1's Behind the Music, the "Foolish" singer reflected on that moment. “The first time I met Nelly, he asked me for my autograph, but I think he was being sarcastic, and I remember writing it down on the program,” she recalled. “That picture has been in so many publications as something else, but it all started out as a joke. For the record, it took him a long time to get my number.”
Nelly and Ashanti Begin Dating
However, it wasn't long after meeting that the two reportedly began dating.
2008: Ashanti Teases Future Engagement to Nelly
The couple kept their relationship relatively private. However, Ashanti did give some insight into their future plans. In an interview with People, the Grammy award-winning artist teased a possible engagement. “Oh no. Noooo! No engagement.” she said while responding to rumors of an upcoming wedding, “But definitely in the future. Ha! Ha!”
Nelly and Ashanti Collaborate on Music
Photo by Thomas Gannam/WireImage
Nelly and Ashanti collaborated on the song "Body On Me," and the "Dilemma" rapper also starred in the singer's video for "Good Good."
2010: Nelly Explains Why He Isn't Ready for Marriage
In an interview with Rap-Up TV, Nelly revealed why he has yet to propose to Ashanti. “I don’t know, right now we’re just friends,” he said. “I’m married to my work. I’m married to getting things into a certain situation. She’s married to getting things into a certain situation right now.”
He concluded, “We enjoy each other’s company. We love it.”
2013: Nelly and Ashanti Break Up
In 2013, the couple reportedly split after a decade together.
2014: Ashanti Calls Nelly Her First Real Love
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Talking to Sway in the Morning, Ashanti revealed that Nelly was her "first true love."
Nelly Begins Dating Shantel Jackson
That same year, Nelly began dating Shantel Jackson.
2015: Ashanti Said Nelly 'Betrayed' Her
Ashanti opened up about her breakup with the diamond-selling artist on The Meredith Vieira Show. “I think sometimes when people have their own insecurities, it allows them to act out of character,” she said. “I’ve been betrayed.”
She continued, “And I feel like, again, you just have to grow. You have to grow up and accept responsibility for the things that you do. I’m not a big fan of people being cowards. I think it’s really important to know yourself and understand what you want and get it. I’m in a different place right now.”
2021: Nelly and Shantel Split Up
Shantel confirmed that she and Nelly broke up while replying to a fan on Instagram. "No we're not ….. Just friends," she said after being asked if they were still together.
Nelly and Ashanti's Verzuz Hug Goes Viral
Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage
In September 2021, the then-former couple made headlines when Nelly walked across the stage to hug Ashanti during Fat Joe and Ja Rule's Verzuz, which had fans hopeful for a reconciliation. Later, in an interview with Angie Martinez, the artist who is featured in the Guinness World Records book,revealed how she felt seeing him.
"It was very unexpected. I hadn't seen him in like six years or more. Spoken or seen," she said. "It was a little awkward." However, she said she wore "the perfect ex outfit."
Ashanti Denies Dating Flo Rida and Explains Why She Likes to Keep Her Love Life Private
During her December 2021 The Breakfast Club appearance, Ashanti cleared up rumors that she was dating rapper Flo Rida after photos of them vacationing together made their rounds on social media. "That's my brother. Me and Flo are super cool," she said.
She continued, "We've been going to each other's birthday parties for ten years, so I don't know why it's such a surprise now." The "Only U" artist also opened up about why she likes to keep her love life private. "I have never in my life posted a dude that I'm dealing with, ever. I mean, maybe Nelly on the fly or something like that. Like 100 years ago, but nothing like, 'oh, we're together, never." I like to keep things private.
"I like to be super low especially until things are like solid, solid," she explained. "There are at least two people super heavy in the industry, we dated and we never posted."
Nelly and Ashanti Perform Together
The two performed their hit song "Body On Me" together during Power 98.3 and 96.1's Under the Mistletoe concert in Arizona, thus sparking dating rumors.
February 2023: Nelly Addresses Ashanti Dating Rumors
Photo by John Sciulli/WireImage
Nelly opened up about his friendship with Ashanti in a February interview with Entertainment Tonight. "Time does wonders for a lot of different things, and time is one those things that allows you time to reflect on what's what, and you get a chance to see things in a different light and see your faults," he said. "So I think we both did that, and it's cool that we just friends."
April 2023: Nelly and Ashanti Reunite Again
In April, the "Body On Me" collaborators further fueled rumors of them dating again after they were spotted holding hands at the Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia fight. And in May 2023, they shared another steamy performance at the Palms Casino Resort during the singer's show with Ja Rule.
June 2023: Nelly and Ashanti Wear Matching Outfits
The following month, Nelly and Ashanti attended Pierre "P" Thomas' birthday party wearing matching outfits.
August 2023: Nelly and Ashanti Share a Video Singing Together
The couple posted a video of them singing to Usher's 1998 hit "Nice & Slow."
September 2023: Nelly and Ashanti Confirm They're Back Together
Let's hope they make the second time around count.
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London Alexaundria is the contributing editor for xoNecole. She is an alum of Clark Atlanta University, where she majored in Mass Media Arts and has worked in journalism for over ten years. You can follow her on Instagram and TikTok @theselfcarewriter
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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