James G. “JuJu” Cunningham is a native of Washington, DC. He graduated from Potomac High School in Prince George’s county Maryland. His father, James Matthew Cunningham who used to play for Myrna Summers and the late BB King taught him how to play the drums. James started playing at the precious age of 5 and often practiced playing on pots and pans.
Growing up in the 70’s James enjoyed listening to The Temptations, The O’Jays, Frankie Beverly and the late great James Brown. Listening to those musical geniuses and watching his dad play in several clubs inspired James to play the drums himself. James especially loves the pocket drummers that know how take songs to a whole other level by keeping it clean and tight with no space in the line of the song.
In elementary school James performed George Clinton and Parliament’s Flashlight in a talent show. He was a member of the jazz band ensemble and gospel choir in junior high and high school. He also played the snare and bass drums in the marching band in high school.
James has been serving in the music ministry for over 30 years and accepted the Lord as his Savior while attending Refreshing Springs C.O.G.I.C., under the pastoral leadership of Bishop A.D. Headen. He is currently a member of Greater Deliverance C.O.G.I.C. located in Washington, DC, where his Pastors are Bishop John I. Little and Evangelist Vi Little. Currently, James is the Musical Director for the U.S. Naval Academy Gospel Choir and he ministers at the First Baptist Church of Highland Park in Landover, MD, Greater Deliverance Church of God In Christ Washington, DC and Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA.
James has performed with the following gospel artists: Pastor Shirley Caesar-Williams, Pastor Donnie McClurkin, Maurette Brown-Clark, Myrna Summers, Pastor Daryl Coley, LaShun Pace, Evangelist Beverly Crawford, Darius Brooks, Isaiah D. Thomas, Vanessa Williams, Minister JJ Hairston and Monique Walker just to name a few. In addition, James has performed in live recording sessions with the U.S. Naval Academy Gospel Choir, John P Kee Victory in Praise DC Chapter, John Tillery & Living Sacrifice and many more. He’s also accompanied the following local artists: Tawanda Rhinehart, New Samaritan Baptist Church Mass Choir, Edward M. Felegy Annual Kennedy Center Concert (Joseph W. Richter, W. Patrick Alston, Linda Hall, Janna Ryon and Patricia Braswell), and DuVal High School. After serving over 20 years, James retired from The Howard University Community Choir and The Renowned Eastern High School Gospel Choir in 2011.
He has been sought after for various workshops with James Ziegler III, Pittsburgh, PA, Hawkins Production Music Ministry, Arlington, VA, Community Church of Christ, New York, NY, Rapture Church, Annapolis, MD and Greater Church of Deliverance, Capitol Heights, MD.
His love for music is what has kept him a float in this business. He has also shared his gifts and talents by teaching family and friends to play as well. He has taught his son, James S. Cunningham, his nephews, Daraile “Munchy” Cunningham and Frank Jenkins Jr as well as other local artist Jonathan Rinehart and Wayne Brooks.
James is the proud father three children, James S. Cunningham, Chantees L. Talbert and Charrisse M. Cunningham and he has four grandchildren.