"American Idol" winner Fantasia is no longer a superstar in her hometown of High Point, N.C., where some residents are even demanding that signs with her name on it should be taken down.
Kyle Sandler, a resident of that city, joined MSNBC's Rita Cosby on Wednesday's 'Live and Direct' to explain his community's outrage at Fantasia.
To read an excerpt of their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.
KYLE SANDLER, OUTRAGED AT FANTASIA: Thank you for having me, Rita. The thing that disappoints me about Fantasia is, in her book, she makes a lot of broad generalizations, saying things like High Point is depressing. You have nothing if you're not in the furniture business in High Point, North Carolina. And that's just not case.
RITA COSBY: Well, in fact, let me show a quote to this that she books in the book about the furniture. She said:
"High Point is a depressing place for anyone who's not a furniture store owner. High Point is all about furniture and nothing else."
You know, in fairness to her, it is the furniture, sort of, capital of the world. Even Martha Stewart's there today.
SANDLER: Absolutely. And you're right. And the thing is, you know, her book, it was timed two weeks before this big furniture market. But I was expecting her to step up to the plate and be more proactive towards High Point.
And I'm not discounting, you know, the trials that she had as growing up in her own family. But she, like I said, in that one that you just read is one that I've read a lot. And she talks about being depressed -- you're depressed if you're not in furniture...
COSBY: Now, she also talks about that the school system let her down, saying, "Look, basically they let me graduate without being able to read." You know, if that's the case, is she maybe sending a powerful lesson, "Fix up the school system"? Isn't that a good message?
SANDLER: Absolutely. ... It is a good message to fix up the school system. And I did want you to know that, since the story broke on the wires, I've never expected it to get this big.
And I've talked to a lot of local people, media and outside the media, and I'm going to use this experience with Fantasia to get involved and make it so that it doesn't seem so depressing.
It is a little bit more quiet in the non-furniture market season, but by no means is it depressing, by no means do you have to be in the furniture business to make money and to live a decent life.
And consequently, we're in Raleigh, the state capital, for this interview, but it took about an hour-and-a-half to get here. And in the car, I spoke with Fantasia's father, who said that he thought his kids had a good upbringing.
COSBY: All right. You know what? I really appreciate it, Kyle. And, in fact, incidentally, everybody, Fantasia herself declined an invitation to come on the show tonight to respond.
But her manager did give us this statement on her behalf:
"I love High Point, where I grew up, and all of North Carolina. I could never have won 'American Idol' without High Point and all the people who live there. I had some really bad experiences growing up and these are my personal experiences. Not all memories are good. I wrote this book to inspire young women to stay in school, to have respect for themselves, to follow their dream, and not to give up on themselves."
Watch 'Rita Cosby Live & Direct' each night at 9 p.m. ET on MSNBC.