Ashanti

Lisa O'Connor/ZUMAPress.com

Ashanti knows how to put on a tour. And she was born on Long Island.

Apparently that's all the R&B star needed to qualify her for appointment as a "tourism ambassador" for Nassau County on Long Island. Ashanti is one of nine people tapped by local officials to hype the New York suburb to the world.

Speaking to a press gaggle on Tuesday at Rockefeller Center—which is, curiously, on the island of Manhattan and not Long—county executive Thomas Suozzi bestowed an orange blazer with a tourism patch to Ashanti, who immediately put it on over her white dress.

The singer, who hails from Glen Cove on Long Island's north shore, told reporters how excited she was to help plug the place where she grew up.

"It was amazing to be asked, and I wanted to give something back to the community," Ashanti said.

The 27-year-old songstress has lent her celebrity to her hometown before, having performed at two inauguration ceremonies for Suozzi, the first when he became mayor of Glen Cove and the second when he began his run as county executive in 2002.

After the presser, Ashanti at least temporarily abdicated her new gig.

Several of the other ambassadors and Suozzi treated 16 tourists—including representatives from Europe, Australia and Japan—to an all-expenses-paid bus tour of Nassau County to hype "The Island Next Door." But Ashanti wasn't among them.

Where's Billy Joel when you need him?

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