Gladys Knights Shared Rare Photos of Her Children Including Late Son James Newman

Oyin Balogun
May 26, 2019
11:09 A.M.
Share this pen

Gladys Knight is grateful being a mom as she joins in the just concluded Mother’s Day celebrations. 


Taking to her Instagram page, the “Empress of Soul” expressed her gratitude to God while including a one-photo post that was a mixture of snapshots with her children. The mother-of-three also included a Mother’s Day greeting in honor of moms.


“I’m so grateful that God chose me to be your mother. You are the greatest gifts I could ever receive. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who have been to take on the tasks of nurturing, raising and guiding our children,” the singer wrote in her caption. 

Knight who got married at the age of 16, to James Newman in 1960 had her first two children, James “Jimmy” III, and Kenya in 1962 and 1963 respectively. After 13 years of their union, Newman and Knight called it quits in 1973.


Her third child, Shanga, came from her second marriage to Barry Hankerson in 1974. It, however, didn’t work out as the couple headed to the divorce court, and after a long custody battle, Knight and Hankerson parted ways. 

As time went on, the entertainer tried her hands on matrimony again as she tied the knots with motivational speaker, Les Brown but just as her first two marriages, Knight’s marriage to Brown was short lived. The pair had no children together.


Presently, the “Midnight Train to Georgia” crooner is married to William McDowell, and they have been together since 2001. Although the star’s love life has been filled with ups and downs, it seems like Knight has a balanced relationship with her children.

According to “LDS Living,” the Soul singer was convinced to join the Mormon Church by Kenya and Jimmy. Knight explained that Jimmy and his spouse were the first to join the church followed by her daughter, Kenya and after observing their lifestyles, Knight became a member.

“I watched their lives grow, and to see how my grandchildren were being raised and what they knew really impressed me,” the entertainer said.


Unfortunately, Jimmy passed on in 1999 according to reports from "Las Vegas Sun." Knight’s restaurateur son, Shanga Hankerson named his food outlet after his mother.

However, Shanga landed in legal complications after he was accused of tax evasion and state sales theft. Knight had to clear her name as she demanded in court that her name be taken off her son’s business. 

Gladys Knight began her music career at the tender age of seven and went ahead to form a music group, “Gladys Knight & The Pips,” with her siblings.

Rising to limelight with hit songs like “I Heard it Through the Grape Vines” and “That’s What Friends are For,” Gladys Knight is a 7-time Grammy award winner.