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Gladys Knight and Her Son James | Source: Getty Images
Gladys Knight and Her Son James | Source: Getty Images

James Newman III Was Named after His Father – Facts about Gladys Knight's Son

Naomi Wanjala
Jan 10, 2023
04:15 P.M.

James Newman III is Gladys Knight's son, who died in the 1990s after suffering from heart failure. James, who shared his father's name, had a close bond with his famous mother and, according to reports, he was once her manager.

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James is the late son of Grammy Award-winning singer Knight, famously known as the Empress of Soul. Before his demise, he lived with his family near his mom's residence to help with her gambling addiction.

Even though James' mom had a successful music career, he was a strong pillar behind her success. Despite James' mother being in the limelight for decades, very little is known about Gladys Knight's son.

Singer Gladys Knight attends Black Girls Rock! 2016 on April 1, 2016 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Singer Gladys Knight attends Black Girls Rock! 2016 on April 1, 2016 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

James Baptized His Mother after She Raised Him to Seek the Lord

James was born on August 13, 1962; his mother described him as a handsome baby with a full head of thick and beautiful hair. Gladys Knight's son was named James Newman III after his father.

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In Knight's biography, she detailed her experience bringing James into the world and how the doctors joked about little James being covered in mud because she had eaten a lot of it. James isn't Knight's only child; he has two younger siblings, his sister Kenya Maria Newman and brother Shanga Ali Hankerson.

James Newman III lived in Las Vegas and had made some accomplishments, including successfully managing his mother through his management company.

Gladys Knight attends the Clive Davis and Recording Academy Pre-GRAMMY Gala on January 27, 2018 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Gladys Knight attends the Clive Davis and Recording Academy Pre-GRAMMY Gala on January 27, 2018 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

In 1999, he helped his mother launch the record label Many Roads, which was formed to support gospel artists, as well as his mother's album titled "Many Different Roads."

Even though her mother ventured into the music industry, Kenya pursued a career in marketing but later discovered that she was passionate about baking.

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Based on the album's media materials, Gladys Knight's son influenced many of his mother's songs, including "Jesus Love Is Like a River." Despite James' mother being a gospel minister who raised her children in the Lord's ways, she wasn't part of any church.

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However, she got inspired after seeing her children's lives change when they joined the church. That was her biggest motivation; she later became a church member in 1997 and got baptized by James, who was part of the priesthood.

Besides being committed to the church, James was also a devoted husband and father who cherished his family. He was the husband of Micheline and father of three sons and two daughters. James had a promising future, but his life was cut short in 1999 after he suffered heart failure at his home in Las Vegas. He died aged 36.

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James' Mother Got Pregnant in Her Teens

James' mother got married to his dad at the young age of 16. The couple later got pregnant, but unfortunately, James' mother lost her first child due to a miscarriage. Knight isn't the only celebrity who got pregnant at a young age; singer Loretta Lynn gave birth to her first child at 16.

In her book, Knight explains that James' father was the love of her life and how she married him even though he was a struggling musician from Atlanta.

Even though Knight referred to James' father as her sweetheart, in her book, she gets candid about how he became a drug addict and left her to take care of their two young kids, James and Kenya, when she was just 20.

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James Is Survived by His Younger Sister and Half-Brother

James' younger sister Kenya was born in 1963. She studied at Bishop Gorman High School and after a few years, tied the knot with her husband, Jimmy Jackson.

Even though her mother ventured into the music industry, Kenya pursued a career in marketing but later discovered that she was passionate about baking. In 1997, she became an entrepreneur and opened up her own cake business in Las Vegas.

James' younger half-brother, Hankerson, was born in 1976. He is also an entrepreneur who owns a chain restaurant in Atlanta. He named his restaurant business after his mother, Gladys Knight.

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