R. Kelly Writing Autobiography

When you think of R. Kelly, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Maybe it’s his “Trapped in the Closet” saga. Or maybe it’s the child pornography accusations and his other legal troubles. The R&B singer-songwriter is working on an autobiography to sort through the good and bad and all the drama, promising to “tell it like it is.”

R. Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is working on the memoir with celebrity author David Ritz.

“I’m writing this book as Robert, not R. Kelly,” said the 42-year-old singer/writer/producer. “I’m tired of being misunderstood. I will show you the tears, fears, and sweat. I will open my heart and reveal the good in my life as well as all the drama. I want to tell it like it is.”

Photo: Anna C. Jones
BJCC Concert Hall, Birmingham, Ala.

During the past 16 years R. Kelly has released nine studio albums, including Untitled, which was released in late November. In addition to selling more than 34 million albums worldwide, including six No.1 albums and eleven No. 1 singles, he has collaborated with and written songs for artists including Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Pussycat Dolls, Usher and Celine Dion. He has racked up three Grammy awards in addition to American Music Awards, NAACP Image Awards, a BET Award and a BMI Award.

After being indicted in 2002 and then waiting six years for the case to go to trial, in June 2008 R. Kelly was found not guilty of all 14 counts of videotaping himself having sex with a minor. His other legal troubles over the years include a 1996 brawl at a health club in Lafayette, Louisiana. Four men filed a federal civil lawsuit against the singer claiming that Kelly and his entourage attacked them during a basketball game. Kelly was sentenced to one-year unsupervised probation.

The memoir, which is yet untitled, will be published with SmileyBooks. It is scheduled for release in early 2011.

“You have the creative passion of R. Kelly, revealed in his groundbreaking “Trapped in the Closet” series, coupled with writer David Ritz, who has collaborated with the musicians Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, B.B. King and Aretha Franklin. It’s a great pairing,” said SmileyBooks President Cheryl Woodruff.

“We are thrilled to be the conduit through which R. Kelly will tell his own story,” said Tavis Smiley, founder and publisher of SmileyBooks. “He has earned the right to tell his story his own way.”