Janet Jackson’s Control (her third album) was definitely her coming out album. Control made her a heavyweight in the music industry and firmly separated her from her famous brothers. Another big moment in Janet’s career was the infamous wardrobe malfunction at Super Bowl 2004. Even though Janet’s exposure lasted less than twenty seconds, her career took a major hit while Justin Timberlake faced no repercussions. Despite Justin being responsible for the malfunction, Janet’s race and gender contributed to her being canceled while Justin was protected.
Janet participated in a two-part documentary about her life, Janet, which is coming out on Lifetime and A&E on January 28th. Janet is covering Allure’s February issue. In the profile, Janet discussed the Super Bowl incident and growing older in the public eye. Here are a few highlights:
On her Janet era in 1993
“[It was about] embracing me and trying to learn to love me for me, my body, all of that. Trying to feel comfortable in embracing that. Throwing myself in the lion’s den. Just going for it, wanting to do something different.”
“It took a lot of work, a lot of work. It was something very tough, very difficult. But I’m glad I walked through it. I’m really glad I got in. It was a way of accepting and loving, accepting yourself and your body.”
On the Super Bowl incident
“What’s really important is going back to having that foundation. Not just family, but God. That’s what really pulled me through. It’s tough for me to talk about that time.”
On being a talking point about racism and sexism
“Whether I want to be part of that conversation or not, I am part of that conversation. I think it’s important. Not just for me, but for women. So I think it’s important that conversation has been had. You know what I mean? And things have changed obviously since then for the better.”
On growing older in the public eye
“I’m very fortunate to have a very loyal and loving fan base. And I think they will always accept me for who I am.
“Everyone would always want to stay young and this and that, but it’s inevitable. I mean, we’re all going to get there.”
On aging naturally vs. getting work done
“There’s another road… It’s a little bit of zhuzh.”
“I don’t know when my day is coming, but at some point it’s going to come and I can choose which path I want to take. I do hope I age gracefully. It’s either a little bit of zhuzh or gracefully.”
Janet has always been my favorite Jackson. Starting with Control, my favorite album of 1986, I literally wanted to be Janet. So when I got to see Janet in concert at the Essence Fest in 2018, it was a dream come true. Janet’s music has always been innovative to me. Every one of Janet’s albums spoke to me intimately and The Velvet Rope and Discipline are my favorites. I love how Janet carved out her own path separate from her famous family. I was truly upset about how Janet was treated after the Super Bowl debacle and equally incensed at the silence coming from Timberlake’s camp. What was more angering was Justin’s weak ass apology last year. That apology was 17 years too late. I am sure Janet didn’t want to be a part of the conversation around race and sexism, but the Super Bowl incident thrust her into the spotlight. Janet has handled it like a pro.
I am looking forward to Janet’s documentary because she rarely talks about her personal life or the things she’s gone through. People have created such a mythology around her that is not accurate. I am ready to hear about Janet in her own words. I also want to know what really happened at the Super Bowl and how she felt about Justin’s silence. I am also excited to hear from her friends and the people who have worked with her.