Until the late 1970s, Knight and the Pips continued to generate hit songs. They were forced to record separately due to legal concerns, resulting in Knight’s debut solo albums, Miss Gladys Knight (1978) on Buddah Records and Gladys Knight (1979) on Columbia Records.
Knight married Barry Hankerson, the uncle of future hip-hop and R&B star Aaliyah, after divorcing James Newman II in 1973. Hankerson worked as an executive aide to Detroit Mayor Coleman Young. Knight and Hankerson married for four years and had one son, Shanga Ali.
However, their relationship deteriorated as they became embroiled in a bitter custody fight over Shanga Ali. Johnny Mathis requested Knight to join on two duets in 1980: “When A Child Is Born” (which had previously been a hit for Mathis) and “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Gladys Knight & the Pips signed with Columbia Records in 1980 and reformed as a foursome, producing new material. For their first two albums, About Love (1980) and Valerie Simpson (1981), they hired former Motown producers Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson.
What church does Gladys Knight go to?
Since Gladys Knight joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, many have seen a difference in her. “Since I joined the church, my desire to obey God has grown. Many people approach me when I’m doing this and remark, “I see a light in you more than ever before.