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All things being equal

October 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Conversation

An unexpected shout-out in the new Denzel Washington movie brings gladness to a member of the legendary pips.


Bubba Knight of Gladys Knight and the Pips.

In the action-packed film “The Equalizer,” Denzel Washington’s character, a revenge-minded man with a violent streak, is asked, “what did you do before working at Home Mart?” Thanks to their long partnership with soul star Gladys Knight, the Pips are arguably the most acclaimed and recognized backup singers in the history of popular music. With classics like “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First To Say Goodbye)” and “Midnight Train to Georgia” in their repertoire, their work helped define a golden age in R&B.

“I am so honored, and it blew my mind that we were acknowledged in …‘The Equalizer.’ I haven’t seen the movie yet, but it was so nice to hear of the acknowledgement and it made me feel good to know that the Pips are still relevant today,” said Bubba Knight, 72, a member of the Pips and Gladys’ older brother. “It really made me happy to also know that in the movie, Denzel’s character is said to have pointed to a photo of the Pips and says, ‘That’s me–the one on the right.’ The young clerk says…”He is the one with the Afro.”

The Pips reference, said Knight, came as a total surprise. “I didn’t know if the writers of the film decided to incorporate our Pips name into the movie or if someone that represents us had it incorporated,” he said. “After asking my team, I do know that none of my new management team members contacted the film makers to have it done, but I am still following up on the details. So, it is a great surprise and an honor, because I am a big fan of Denzel Washington’s work.”

Gladys Knight still travels the world as a performer, and Bubba often joins his sister on the road. “The Equalizer movie has given me some props, and helping me with my solo career,” he said. “Currently, I have put a staff together and we are gearing up to debut my solo career. I still perform with my sister, but we are very excited about what we will soon release.”

As for his sister, Knight says she is as busy as ever. “Yes, Gladys is appearing regularly on BET’s “Apollo Live” and she just completed a movie in New York,” he revealed. “She is currently working with Tyler Perry, and was recently on ‘The Chew’ cooking television show. So, I haven’t seen her much these days. But I am so very proud of my baby sister.”

During a recent “Queen Latifah” appearance to promote “The Equalizer,” Denzel Washington showed off his Pips dance moves.

Great things happen to greatness, and Bubba Knight is no exception. He was recently approached to produce his own television show.

“I am a happy man during this time of my life, where I give back to our Las Vegas community through community service, speaking engagements and encouraging young people in schools, and also having the opportunity to maintain a platform to ‘keep keeping on’ with my entertainment career, ” he said. “With all things being equal, good fortune is an equalizer.”

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