Gladys Knight, also known as the Empress of Soul, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress who has been entertaining audiences for over six decades. She is known for her powerful vocals and soulful music that has earned her several Grammy Awards and numerous accolades. In addition to her successful music career, Gladys Knight has also been married multiple times and has children from her marriages.
Gladys Knight’s personal life has been a topic of interest among her fans. She has been married four times and has three children. Her first marriage was to James Newman, with whom she had two children, James “Jimmy” Gaston Newman III and Kenya Newman. After her divorce from Newman, Gladys Knight married producer Barry Hankerson, with whom she had one son, Shanga Hankerson. Her marriage to Hankerson also ended in divorce. Gladys Knight’s most recent marriage was to motivational speaker Les Brown, but the couple parted ways after two years.
Early Life and Career
Gladys Maria Knight was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1944. She grew up singing in the church choir, and by the age of eight, she and her siblings formed a singing group called “The Pips.” In the late 1950s, they began performing professionally, opening for R&B legends like Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke.
In 1960, Gladys Knight and The Pips signed with Fury Records, where they recorded their first hit single, “Every Beat of My Heart.” They went on to record several more hits for Fury before moving to Motown Records in 1966.
At Motown, Gladys Knight and The Pips became one of the label’s most successful acts. They recorded hits like “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “If I Were Your Woman,” and “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye).” They also collaborated with other Motown stars like Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross.
In the early 1970s, Gladys Knight and The Pips left Motown and signed with Buddah Records. They continued to record hits like “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.”
In addition to her successful music career, Gladys Knight also acted in several films and television shows, including the 1974 movie “Claudine.” She also appeared in Tyler Perry’s “I Can Do Bad All by Myself” and founded the Gladys Knight and Ron Winans’ Chicken & Waffles restaurant chain.
Throughout her career, Gladys Knight has been recognized for her contributions to music and the community. She won Ted Mack’s The Original Amateur Hour TV show contest at the age of seven, and in 2011, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She has also been involved in various philanthropic efforts, including the opening of the Gladys Knight Community Center in Atlanta in the 1960s.
Solo Career and Achievements
Gladys Knight’s solo career began in the late 1970s, after she parted ways with The Pips. Her first album, “Miss Gladys Knight,” was released in 1978 and featured the hit single “I’m Coming Home Again.”
In the 1980s, Knight had several successful albums, including “Every Beat of My Heart,” “Good Woman,” and “Just for You.” She also recorded the theme song for the James Bond movie “License to Kill” in 1989.
One of Knight’s biggest hits as a solo artist was “Midnight Train to Georgia,” which won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group in 1974. Other notable hits include “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye),” and “Love Overboard.”
Knight’s accomplishments as a solo artist have earned her numerous accolades. She has won seven Grammy Awards, including Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for “That’s What Friends Are For” with Dionne Warwick, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder in 1986. In addition, Knight was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Throughout her career, Knight has collaborated with many legendary artists, including Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, and Dionne Warwick. She has also been a prominent figure in the music industry, serving on the Board of Governors for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Knight’s contributions to the music industry have made her a true icon. Her powerful voice and soulful sound have left a lasting impact on generations of music lovers.
Gladys Knight has been married four times and has three children. She had her first child, James “Jimmy” Gaston Newman III, with her first husband, James Newman. She then had a daughter named Kenya Maria Newman in 1963. After her divorce from James Newman in 1973, she married Barry Hankerson, the creator of Blackground Records, and had a son named Shanga Ali Hankerson in 1976.
Gladys Knight’s marriage to Barry Hankerson ended in divorce, and he was granted full custody of Shanga after a custody battle. She then had a brief marriage to Les Brown in 1995 before marrying William McDowell, her current husband, in 2001. Gladys and William have been happily married for over 20 years despite their age difference.
Aside from her personal life, Gladys Knight has had a successful career in music and entertainment. She was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and began her singing career at the age of four with her siblings in a group called the Pips. The group later became Gladys Knight & the Pips, and they had hits throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.
Gladys Knight has also had success as a solo artist and has appeared in movies and television shows. She has lived in various cities throughout her life, including Las Vegas, where she had a residency at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino.
Despite some personal struggles, such as her ex-husband’s gambling addiction and legal issues with Newman Management Inc., Gladys Knight has remained a positive and loving person. She has been an inspiration to many and continues to spread love and joy through her music and personal life.
Gladys Knight is not only a talented singer and actress but also a savvy businesswoman. Throughout her career, she has been involved in various business ventures, including music management, authorship, and record label ownership.
One of her most notable business ventures was her marriage to Barry Hankerson, the creator of Blackground Records. With him, she welcomed a son named Shanga Ali Hankerson on August 1, 1976. Although their marriage ended in divorce, Gladys continued to work with Hankerson and his record label. In fact, she released several albums under Blackground Records, including her 1994 album, Just for You.
Aside from her work with Blackground Records, Gladys has also dabbled in music management. She managed her son Shanga Ali Hankerson’s music career and helped him launch his own record label, called Kedar Entertainment Group.
In addition to her involvement in the music industry, Gladys has also authored a cookbook called At Home with Gladys Knight: Her Personal Recipe for Living Well, Eating Right, and Loving Life. The cookbook features many of her favorite recipes and tips for healthy living.
Gladys Knight’s business ventures have been varied and successful. From record label ownership to music management and authorship, she has proven herself to be a talented and savvy businesswoman.
Philanthropy and Activism
Gladys Knight is not only a talented singer and actress, but she is also a philanthropist and activist. Throughout her career, she has used her platform to support various causes and organizations.
One of the most notable examples of her activism was her performance of the national anthem at Super Bowl LIII in 2019. Knight used this opportunity to bring attention to the issue of police brutality and racial injustice in America. She stated that she was proud to use her voice to raise awareness of these important issues.
In addition to her activism, Knight has also been involved in various philanthropic efforts. She has worked with organizations such as the American Diabetes Association, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and the United Negro College Fund.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Knight participated in the “At Home with Gladys Knight” concert series to raise money for those affected by the virus. She also donated to various relief funds and encouraged her fans to do the same.
Gladys Knight’s philanthropy and activism demonstrate her commitment to using her platform for good. She has used her voice to raise awareness of important issues and has worked to support various organizations and causes.
Legacy and Influence
Gladys Knight’s contributions to the entertainment industry have been significant. She has been a Grammy winner several times and has been nominated for numerous awards. Her music has inspired many people, and her performances have been legendary.
Gladys Knight’s husband, William McDowell, was also a record producer, and the two of them worked together on several projects. Their daughter, Kenya, has also followed in their footsteps and has become a successful singer.
Gladys Knight’s father, Merald Woodlow Knight Sr., was a postal worker and a deacon in the Baptist church. He encouraged his children to sing and perform, and Gladys and her siblings formed a group called the Pips. Her sister, Brenda Knight, was also a member of the group.
One of Gladys Knight’s most famous songs is “Friendship Train,” which was released in 1969. The song was a call for unity and peace during a time of social unrest. It became an anthem for the civil rights movement and continues to be a powerful message today.
In 2016, Gladys Knight was diagnosed with heart failure. She has been open about her health struggles and has used her platform to raise awareness about the importance of heart health. Her legacy continues to inspire people around the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Gladys Knight’s daughter?
Gladys Knight’s daughter is Kenya Newman, born in 1963.
How old is Gladys Knight’s daughter?
As of the current date, Sun Jul 09 2023, Kenya Newman is 60 years old.
What is Gladys Knight’s net worth?
As of 2023, Gladys Knight’s net worth is estimated to be around $28 million.
Did Gladys Knight have any children?
Yes, Gladys Knight had three children. She had two children, James and Kenya, with her first husband James Newman and one son, Shanga, with her second husband Barry Hankerson.
When did Gladys Knight lose her son?
Gladys Knight lost her son, James “Jimmy” Gaston Newman III, in 1999 to a drug overdose.
Was Gladys Knight married to a member of The Pips?
No, Gladys Knight was not married to a member of The Pips. However, she was a member of the group and performed with them for many years.