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THE TIMES, NEWS SERVICES AND THE NATION'S PRESS.

June 20, 2002|Elaine Dutka

POP/ROCK R. Kelly Pleads Case — POP/ROCK

R. Kelly Pleads Case--

Over the Airwaves

R&B singer R. Kelly, facing 21 felony counts of child pornography charges, has avoided the spotlight in recent weeks. But he's now addressing the scandal in a song given exclusively to a radio station in his hometown.

WGCI-FM, a popular hip-hop and R&B channel in Chicago, began playing "Heaven I Need a Hug" this week. The song is slated to be on the singer's next album, scheduled for release late this year.

"Heaven I Need a Hug" features Kelly's familiar tenor and burnished grooves with lyrics describing the scandal as a product of celebrity. "It's all because I'm famous/You know what I'm sayin'/I mean if I wasn't famous/Then all this wouldn't be happening/I'm just being real."

He also sings "church folks, you need to stop judging" and tells women "stop depending on us men/start depending on the man above."

The charges against Kelly stem from a now-notorious 26-minute videotape, widely distributed via the Internet and black-market vendors, allegedly showing him in a sexual liaison with a girl police say was 14 at the time. The Grammy-winning singer denies he is the man in the tape.

Eminem Still No. 1

on Album Sales Charts

Eminem's "The Eminem Show" album continues its torrid sales pace, selling another 530,000 copies last week to retain its No. 1 spot on the national chart for the fourth week. The album has now sold 2.9 million copies since its release last month, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Hard-rock group Korn sold 434,000 copies of its "Untouchables" last week to debut in the No. 2 spot. The other positions in the Top 10 are held, in order, by the fifth volume in the "Totally Hits" compilation series, New Found Glory, P. Diddy, Ashanti, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," Kenny Chesney, Donell Jones and Avril Lavigne. 'N Sync's pairing with Nelly on "Girlfriend" remains the nation's bestselling single.

PEOPLE

Tests Confirm That Bing Is the Father

DNA tests have determined that Hollywood producer Steve Bing, who sparked a tabloid frenzy when he questioned the paternity of Elizabeth Hurley's baby, is indeed the father of the 2-month-old boy.

The test results were disclosed Wednesday at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London. Bing had initiated the paternity proceedings shortly after the baby was born.

Hurley, a 37-year-old actress ("Austin Powers") and model, has always maintained that Bing is the father and could now receive millions of dollars in child support. Bing, believed to be heir to a $400-million property fortune, has said that if Damian Charles Hurley was shown to be his, he'd be an "involved and responsible parent."

QUICK TAKES

Billy Joel, 53, has checked into Silver Spring Hospital in New Canaan, Conn., for a 10-day stay for treatment of substance abuse.... R&B star Brandy and her husband, Robert Smith, became parents of a girl on Tuesday.... NBC is purchasing the remake rights to the hit BBC show "Coupling," a comedic look at love and lust among thirtysomethings. The pilot is being viewed as a potential replacement for "Friends." ... "The Scorpion King's" star, the Rock (a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson), has made a deal to play Hawaii's most famous warrior-king, Kamehameha the Great, in a movie for Sony Pictures.

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