Ashanti is one of R&B music’s most beloved singers, but she’s not getting any love from residents in New Jersey. The ‘The Woman You Love’ singer appeared at Atlantic City High School on June 1 and spoke with students about the importance of staying in school. So what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that Ashanti was paid $20,000 for her appearance, which school district officials described it as “a once in a lifetime opportunity.” According to the Atlantic City Press, some A.C. residents feel that the money should have been used to fund local community efforts for the youth.

Marte King, a local activist and educator, told the newspaper that he could have mentored the students for 20 weeks for $20,000. “A lot of students can relate to me, too,” he said.

School officials insists that no taxpayer money was used for Ashanti’s visit and that her payment was typical for a celebrity speaker. “She was paid like any other vendor,” said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Donna Haye.

This hasn’t quelled some of the criticism surrounding the songbird’s appearance.

“20 Grand for a singer to tell kids to stay in school. I am very sure the AC school district could’ve found someone else. Very bad move by them and next school year they will cry that there aren’t enough books for students to take home,” wrote a NJ.com user.

So far, Ashanti has not commented on the matter.

What do you think? Should Ashanti keep the money or donate it to a local cause? Tell us in the comments below.

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