Gladys Knight and Kenya Jackson

gladys-knight mormonKenya Jackson is a Las Vegas resident and daughter of R&B Legend Gladys Knight, a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes erroneously called the Mormon Church.  Jackson was named Nevada’s Young Mother of the Year in 2007.  She has five children.

Gladys Knight has always been engaged in helping the less fortunate.  She has been honored by numerous organizations for her dedication and selflessness.  Some of these include NAACP Legal Defense Fund- Black Women Of Achievement; Congress Of Racial Equality- Creative Achievement; Shaw University- Honorary Doctorate Degree; and B’Nair B’Rith- Humanitarian Award.

Jackson began working as an executive with her mother’s private management firm as a teen. Over the years, the young professional tried her hand at business ownership and opened a gourmet bakery in Las Vegas along the way.  The bakery opened in 1994 and expanded in 1997.

The bakery is called Kenya’s Cakes Of The Stars.  The bakery employs about 20 employees, and Kenya runs the day-to-day operations of the business. “Her celebrity mother, she says, provides substantial funding and publicity, and adds ‘creative’ touches here and there. “She thinks huge,” Jackson says of her mother. “She’s very good at networking and using the things that are available to her. And she understands star power.” [1]

When the bakery opened, music “Divas” Natalie Cole, Patti LaBelle, Dionne Warwick and Gladys herself lent their names to selected cake recipes. The cakes and the Bakery have been featured in major publications, on several radio shows and television shows including “Good Morning America,” “F/X,” “Talking Food,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “Tom Snyder Show,” “Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous,” and “Fox After Breakfast.” “Kenya’s Cakes Of The Stars” expanded in 1997 to a new 6,000 square foot production facility and opened the only dessert-ery in the world, “Kenya’s Cakes Of The Stars” in the new Sunset Station Hotel & Casino, Henderson. In the 1997 Review-Journal ‘s sixteenth annual “Best Of Las Vegas” poll, Kenya’s Gourmet Bakery was voted “Best Desserts.  [2]

gladys-knight business mormonIn 1997 Gladys Knight founded a restaurant chain with Ron Winans (an American gospel singer) called “Gladys Knight and Ron Winans’ Chicken & Waffles.”  The original restaurant opened in Atlanta, Georgia. Subsequent restaurants in Lithonia, Georgia, Johns Creek, Georgia and Landover, Maryland (Washington, D.C. suburb) in The Boulevard at the Capital Centre. [3]  Winans passed away in 2005 at the age of 48.

Chicken and Waffles franchises continue to succeed under the direction of Gladys Knight’s son.  (Read more…)