He was the nephew of Temptations singer Melvin Franklin; a boy who watched and listened, mesmerized from underneath cocktail tables at the shows of Etta James and Miles Davis. He was a vagrant hippie who wandered to Toronto, where he ended up playing with Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, and he became a household name in the 1980s with his hit song “Super Freak.” Later in life, he was a bad boy who got caught up in drug smuggling and ended up in prison. But since his passing in August 2004, Rick James has remained a legendary icon whose name is nearly synonymous with funk music—and who popularized the genre, creating a lasting influence on pop artists from Prince to Jay-Z to Snoop Dogg, among countless others.
In Glow, Rick James and acclaimed music biographer David Ritz collaborated to write a no-holds-barred memoir about the boy and the man who became a music superstar in America’s disco age. It tells of James’s upbringing and how his mother introduced him to musical geniuses of the time. And it reveals details on many universally revered artists, from Marvin Gaye and Prince to Nash, Teena Marie, and Berry Gordy. James himself said, “My journey has taken me through hell and back. It’s all in my music—the parties, the pain, the oversized ego, the insane obsessions.” But despite his bad boy behavior, James was a tremendous talent and a unique, unforgettable human being. His “glow” was an overriding quality that one of his mentors saw in him—and one that will stay with this legendary figure who left an indelible mark on American popular music.
In this thoughtful, engaging, challenging book, Rick James dives deep into the New Testament’s teachings on spiritual wakefulness, calling Christ-followers to defy the darkness and remain awake as they await Christ’s return. Because being awake—continually in prayer, watchful for God’s will, expectant of open doors, cautious of sin, desiring to serve, eager to repent, continuously giving thanks, willing to witness, embracing of humility, overflowing with kindness, persevering in obedience—changes everything.
Giving up our own plans in order to meet someone else’s needs. Allowing God to shape our dreams, even as we lose a relationship, a job, a hoped-for future. Being alert to these daily opportunities to die to ourselves is how we discover that every act of dying, done in faith, leads to spiritual growth.
As we learn to embrace the little deaths of everyday existence, we lose our taste for lifeless religiosity. Our appetite for a thriving, vibrant life in Christ grows—and our own experience motivates others to live out their extraordinary mission on earth. In truth, death is not an ending. It is the only way to experience abundant life.