Former 2-time Grammy Award winner Ashanti stopped in at Atlantic City High School 2 weeks ago and spent hours talking to students and encouraging them to continue their studies and pursue their dreams.

What seemed like a nice moment has taken a turn on line when word broke she was paid $20,000 for her appearance.

Diane D'Amico of The Press of Atlantic City broke the story yesterday, explaining how Ashanti (the Goddaughter of Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford and his wife Nynell) led assemblies for 7th and 8th graders, met privately with a group of middle high school students and did an interview with students for the high school radio station.  School officials said that the payment was typical for a celebrity speaker and that Ashanti did far more than a typical guest.

Comments have been coming in at the website of New Jersey News, and not many have been supporting Ashanti for taking the money.  Ashanti's career has seen her earn her share of money with CD sales eclipsing 6 Million in the U.S. over her previous 4 releases.  With 6 Top-15 hits on her resume, along with 6 Top-10 hits she was featured on, Ashanti has been a huge star in music but has been without a significant hit since 2004.

Ashanti is entitled to make a living, but the scrutiny is part of the game.  Before you pass judgement, look at the numbers The Press of A.C. found for fees some celebs are getting for speaking engagements:

NBC sports announcer Ahmad Rashad -- $20,000 to $30,0000

Race Car driver Al Unser Jr.  -- $20,000 to $30,000

actress Aisha Tyler -- $10,000 to $20,000

Rapper and actor Ice-T -- $15,000 to $25,000

Spike Lee -- $25,000 to $35,000

comedian Sinbad has a listed fee at $75,000!

Sheldon Senek, executive vice president of Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau in South Orange, works with the talent listed above including Ashanti, and recently commented over this backlash “I know the average person will look at the amounts and say, ‘Oh my gosh,’ but you are paying for the brand.”