Fun Faith Fact!: Knight sang at the funeral service for Michael Jackson
The legendary R&B singer known as “The Empress of Soul,” who rose to stardom with songs like “Midnight Train to Georgia,” converted to Mormonism in 1998. Her son Jimmy had already become LDS and introduced Gladys to the religion. African-Americans have had a somewhat fractious relationship with the Mormon church. Historically Mormons believed that black people were the descendants of Ham and that their skin color was a way of marking them. In 1978, the LDS church officially allowed African-Americans to become priesthood holders. Knight has done outreach work with other African-Americans in the church. She also founded the Saints United Choir, a Grammy-winning LDS gospel choir.