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Tenika Watson’s Story of Teddy Pendergrass Crash

Transgender Woman, Tenika Watson in Accident with the Late Teddy Pendergrass Finally Speaks Out and Tells her side of the story

Teddy Pendergrass was an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter who rose to fame in the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the group Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. Known for his powerful and emotive voice, Pendergrass embarked on a successful solo career after leaving the group in 1975. He became a prominent figure in the music industry, delivering hits such as “Close the Door,” “Turn Off the Lights,” and “Love T.K.O.”

Pendergrass’s music and performances made him a beloved icon, particularly among female fans. His career was tragically interrupted in 1982 when he was involved in a car accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. Despite the challenges, Pendergrass continued to create music and inspire others until his passing in 2010.

Teddy Pendergrass Accident and Scandal

In 1982, Teddy Pendergrass was on top of the world. He had just exited the group that gave him his start, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.

There was supposedly dissension with the leader of the group Harold Melvin, who many industry people state was jealous of Teddy’s appeal with the ladies and his stellar talent.

Teddy had put the group on the map and now it was time to pursue a solo career. He was almost instantly a huge soul singing sensation who had to duck panties and bras flying on stage from women in the audience who would have given life and limb to be with him.

Homophobia and Transphobia in the Black Community

A black man having a relationship with a transgender woman, even today in a world of more acceptance, is still considered taboo and fodder for supreme ridicule, but adding that the man is a successful hardcore-masculine-ladies-man-superstar-soul-singer in 1982 was beyond comprehension and an instant career-ender. Women were CRAZY for Teddy Pendergrass and the scandal all but left their sexual quests for him catatonic. They realized THEY really DIDN’T know Teddy Pendergrass… by now!  

And perhaps they never, never, never REALLY knew him.  At the height of his career, Teddy Pendergrass saw all hell break loose in one night.  Seeing a transgendered prostitute named Tenika Watson at a club in 1982, the singer spoke to her and was ready to leave and so was she. They got in the car and the rest is R&B history.

Teddy Pendergrass Gave Tenika Watson a Ride

The world of marketing and promotion can often be unfortunate because it turns humans into products with no error stamps (at least back then) and while a man or woman should be able to date and have a relationship with whoever they want, female fans felt that Teddy was theirs and he owed it to them to be who THEY wanted him to be, after all, they were buying his albums, weren’t they?

Just when fans were trying to get a grip on the news that he was paralyzed in the accident the additional shock that there was a transgendered woman in the car with him sealed his industry future and fate. Teddy Pendergrass had to have been absolutely devastated by the scandal that not only left him paralyzed but also desecrated his career as a successful R&B singing ladies man.

He never addressed the situation and in the years following much speculation and distasteful jokes were made endlessly penalizing Teddy for the situation.


On the night of the Teddy Pendergrass Car Accident, Tenika Watson, a transgender woman, and former prostitute describe what really happened the night she got into the car with Pendergrass more than 30 years ago.

 In this video clip, it is evident, according to Tenika, that she and Teddy were having a lengthy affair and they had not just met that night … she states she met him in the 70s before the accident happened in 1982. In addition, it appears Teddy’s car may have been rigged by an enemy (enemies) per Tenika’s description of what happened that night while he was in the club.

While she doesn’t speak of it in this clip it also appears that Dr J’s ex-wife, Turquoise Erving, was not in the car as speculated for years. Since they were leaving a club, that part may or may not be true.
Through it all, you have to give credit to Teddy for his courage and determination.

He knew his career would never be the same but he continued to record, even reaching number 2 on the R&B charts with Joy, years after the accident. He lived more than 20 years after the accident when doctors predicted he would only live for 7.

This is the second time in recent weeks that the late Teddy Pendergrass has been in the news, recently his son was accused of submitting a false will on Teddy’s behalf. Also, Teddy’s old label in Philly has been torn down here. (see video clip below


In conclusion, Teddy Pendergrass was a remarkable American R&B and soul singer-songwriter who left an indelible mark on the music industry. Rising to fame as the lead vocalist of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, he captivated audiences with his powerful voice and emotional performances. After embarking on a solo career, Pendergrass solidified his status as a soul-singing sensation, enchanting fans with hits that became timeless classics.

However, tragedy struck in 1982 when a car accident left Teddy Pendergrass paralyzed from the chest down. The incident not only impacted his physical abilities but also thrust him into a scandalous narrative involving a transgender woman named Tenika Watson, which significantly affected his career. The revelation challenged societal norms and subjected Pendergrass to ridicule and scrutiny. Despite the adversity, he demonstrated incredible resilience and courage, refusing to let the circumstances define him.

Pendergrass continued to create music, defying expectations and reaching new heights in his artistic journey. His determination led to chart-topping success, including the notable achievement of his single “Joy” reaching number 2 on the R&B charts. Teddy Pendergrass defied the odds, living for more than 20 years after the accident, surpassing medical predictions.

Throughout his life, Pendergrass faced numerous challenges, including controversies surrounding his personal life and the legal battles that unfolded even after his passing. Nevertheless, his musical legacy remains intact, and his impact on the R&B genre is undeniable.

Teddy Pendergrass’s story serves as a testament to his resilience, talent, and the enduring power of his music. Despite the trials he faced, he remains an iconic figure in the history of soul music, forever remembered for his soul-stirring vocals and his ability to connect with audiences on a profound level.

Kevin Ross
Kevin Ross
Kevin Ross is the CEO of Radio Facts. He is a music and radio industry vet who has been a programmer and a radio host in several markets like Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, and more. He started The Industry Dot Biz in 1995 as a voice for Black industry executives to have a voice in the industry. Ross is a musician, writer, voice talent, and author. The Industry Dot Biz is currently the largest urban industry trade and site.

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