Ashanti‘s highly-anticipated “Verzuz” battle against Keyshia Cole has been pushed back to January due to the “Baby” singer’s last-minute COVID-19 diagnosis.
The 40-year-old singer revealed on Instagram that she tested positive for the virus on Friday, Dec. 11, but is currently “ok and not in any pain.”
“Hey y’all, I can’t believe I’m saying this but I tested positive for COVID-19. I’m ok and not in any pain,” she wrote in her initial message to fans.
“Verzuz” also shared the news on its official Instagram page but gave fans a glimmer of hope when it confirmed that the battle 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…NEW DATE: January 9th, 2021.”
Ashanti went live with her fans on Saturday night to discuss her diagnosis and disappointment in needing to push the streaming event back after trying to figure out a way for the show to go on. “Never in a million years did I think I would get COVID. I’m super bummed,” she began. “I’m actually, I’m still ready to do it tonight though. Me and Team Apple have been on the phone since late last night, early this morning trying to figure out how to do it. … I’m super ready to do it.”
In her 39-minute stream, the singer was adamant that although she’s traveled out of the country recently, she actually contracted the virus from a family member she spent time with when she came home. “I came home and I hugged a family member that actually ended up being positive,” she explains at 5:53. “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**k.’ Then I got tested last night and that’s what it was.”
Warning fans to learn from her experience as a cautionary tale, Ashanti reminded viewers that the virus can be contracted from anyone and by anyone. “It’s just a lesson that this is very, very real and it don’t have to come from the outside and it don’t have to come from people you don’t know. … I’m super healthy and it still happened.”
The star also addressed any chatter about the possibility that she faked her diagnosis to get out of the faceoff, starting at 8:34. “It’s a lot of ignorance, and it’s a lot of people that have negative things to say. COVID is not anything to play with,” she said. “People have died from it. People that I know have died from it, and for people to think that I would fake that … a part of me feels like I shouldn’t even address that, but just to be very clear that there’s no reason, no benefit at all for me to sit up here and tell the world that I tested positive for COVID.”
Keyshia Cole even hopped on the former Princess of Murder Inc.’s stream to show support. “I was ready to get in there with you but … your health is more important than that,” the “Love” singer stated at 31:04.
On the bright side, as Ashanti continues to get well, fans have a few more weeks to get their early 2000s gear together and jam to playlists to prepare for the competition.