Reporting Dorothy Tucker
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CHICAGO (CBS) – R & B singing sensation R. Kelly’s autobiography, “Soula Coaster,” is just hitting the stores.
The Grammy Award winner is promoting the book as a tell-all about his life, but critics say he glosses over some controversial times, like his trial for allegedly videotaping a sexual encounter with an underage girl. He was ultimately acquitted.
While Kelly may not have much to say about the trial, CBS 2′s Dorothy Tucker found someone who’s talking for the first time.
Stephanie Edwards, a singer known as “Sparkle,” was the prosecution’s key witness against Kelly and the aunt of the alleged minor.
Edwards is back in the studio after a 10-year hiatus. She has just released her new single, called “So Bad,” a song she co-wrote about the painful relationship with her one-time producer, mentor and friend: Kelly.
“We had such a close relationship and I felt like we were family, I never thought anything like that would happen,” Edwards says.
It happened in 2001, when Edwards says she first learned that Kelly had allegedly made a video tape showing him having sex with her then-13-year-old niece.
In 2008, Sparkle testified against Kelly as he faced charges of child pornography. He was eventually acquitted because jurors weren’t convinced the girl in the tape was a minor.
But because Sparkle stood by her conviction she lost the support of her family members, who vehemently denied the girl in the tape was the relative.
Edwards said she lost all of the interactions with them, including family nights and gatherings after church.
“It brings back so many memories and hurt,” she says.
During the past decade, Edwards says she found it impossible to sing. But last year, her parents celebrated 50 years of marriage and the family began to heal; her desire to sing returned.
“I’m in a good space. It’s a good time,” she says.
R. Kelly’s publicist did not respond Thursday to a request for comment.
Sparkle is scheduled to perform next weekend at a festival in Garfield Park.