Janet Fan
Your #1 Source for all things Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson, 51, is a better dancer than you’ll ever be. So there’s that.

There’s also, in this age of minutely parsed identity, the maddening fact that both her musical and physical skills have always been forced to take second place: to white women, perhaps namely Madonna, and to men, her brother Michael most obviously.

Janet is everything, which thousands of fans showed her at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Thursday night. Everybody danced and sang all the words all night, both when her mic was open, to prove she still has lungs, and when the prerecorded vocals were on, so she could focus on her footwork.

We appreciated her music, but also her resilience, perseverance and sense of self. These are the qualities one needs to survive in 2017 and Ms. Jackson has got them.

This was clear about three songs into her set, during Burnitup! from the 2015 album Unbreakable. Featuring the rapper Missy Elliott, who appeared larger than life on screens behind the exuberant dancers, the song is a jam, danceable, fun and fully of the moment, even though Janet delayed this tour two years in order to have a baby before divorcing her new son’s father, a Qatari billionaire.

It’s also a song that I hadn’t heard until this week, as I mainlined Janet videos in anticipation of the show. Like every other jerk, I had been more or less ignoring her since the 2004 Super Bowl controversy, when her black woman’s nipple so disgusted mainstream America that it ruined her career for more than a decade.

Janet has released three full-length albums in the meantime, and although I know every word of every song on every album she released in the 1980s and 90s, I basically didn’t notice them. This is partly because of the ennui that greets many mid-career artists, but also because of the media blackout and shunning that stuck to Janet after her “wardrobe malfunction.”

It’s beyond a shame, maybe even a sin, that Janet was sidelined for so long. Consider that, with the #takeaknee protests as a backdrop, her younger, whiter, more male partner in crime Justin Timberlake was just invited to headline the next Super Bowl halftime show.

This is exactly how stereotypes and assumptions have worked against Janet her entire career. She was almost an afterthought in the Jackson entourage: the youngest of nine kids, her entry into showbiz a given yet not especially nurtured, and sometimes still seen as secondary despite her undeniable magnificence.

On Thursday, I got loose alongside a friend of 20-plus years, both of us recalling being shamed in the 1990s for being Janet fans when the guys we liked were into punk, grunge and hardcore rap. Joke’s on them: Love has always been a harder sell than antipathy, but Janet got the full diversity of the Greater Toronto Area to sing along for five straight songs in a row this week. A girl snob might consider this solid evidence that R&B has more longevity than macho boy music.

Around here is the point where critics point out that the Jackson family is weird, to which I say, “Yeah? Well so are you.” Weirdness and malice are the State of the World, as the tour is called, and those who have truly been able to stay out of the fray may sing the first note.

Anyway, the main reason we were here is for a show, and we got one. We heard all of the hits, from The Pleasure Principle to the one with Q-Tip, and we saw Ms. Jackson and her entourage spin, bounce, kick and sweat their way through the night.

Twenty years later, If is still a song that imagines both a world with good sex and one where nobody gets hurt. Three decades on, Rhythm Nation still makes a convincing argument that courage and impeccable choreography could eliminate injustice.

Being seen, and valued, for your true self was a real possibility – at least for two hours, in the world where Janet reigns.

  1. RN1814 says:

    Luther Brown talks about his work with Janet on several of her tours: http://bit.ly/2sND4Kw

  2. Sherry says:

    I love you Janet but I think you need to do something unexpected career wise.. To connect to the community or give back. Like visit some schools or hospitals , donate — do a few duets like with debarg or others— or collaborate with Beounsa on a baby song or do a video or home video or a over 40 baby talk something page — also congrats on your baby. I just had one my self at 49. I am about try for my second at 50 with a little help. Trying to strength my body now.

  3. Nickcole Collins says:

    Hello Janet I Been Thinking About u I Still Listen To Your Music I,am So Thrill And And Excited And Cannot Wait To See u Go On Tour Again In Orlando,Florida.I W Wish You Goodluck Your Baby so Adorable Take Care With Love bye.

  4. Nickcole Collins says:

    Hey Janet How U Been It Been A While It So Good To Hear From You.Congralation Your New Baby.He so adorable.Enjoy Your easter Sunday With Love.

  5. BILL says:

    Where is that famous mole ? both you guys have moles, does he have his dad’s mole, or your mole ? moles run in the family you know! You look Happy ! What should I seen you and the baby; and where? He looks like a REAL PRINCE TO ME!

    Well, you got you REAL PRINCE… and that makes you a REAL QUEEN too ! How long before he Moonwalks, a couple of years? Janet Jackson, you always get what you want. Its always been that way, but remember, you’re the youngest, am the oldest, and nobody says go, until you say GO….Well, when you go to a shoe store now, you can’t just think about yourself now. And for the first time in your life… you’ve got to think about somebody else first before your self… that must be new for you, who has everything. But there’s one thing for sure; he has lots of family to play with, and now its official, when get to Beverly Hills, he’s going to drive TMZ fans nuts, you an him, getting of a flight at LAX. Elssa, looks like he’s ready for anything. Remember the song, your daddy’s RICH and your mama’s BEAUTIFUL, not just good looking, so hus-up, little baby and don’t you cry. remember that song?
    all Elssa, needs to do is eat and get strong, now, you know boys are always taller than their fathers, so he’s going to be taller than 6’4. Wow, are you ready to start looking up, at you own son.
    Janet, I know you’re going to give Elssa, every advantage, so look for all those Your Baby Can READ products, and let him grow up with those products: Then I want to see him on LITTLE BIG SHOTS with STEVE HARVEY.

    Janet you know I can talk to you all night, but keep showing and sending those wonderful baby shots.
    Your Old man!
    you know by now, that’s what you need; young guys aren’t ready to settle down, young women keep hitting on them just because they want to put themselves on your level, but young men think its them the girls want, so they fall for that sh.., not me… you’ve always been three times faster than all your guys… they are no match for a real Queen like you…don’t you see !

    If you’re ready for real love and a real family give me a chance. http://www.secretnotes.info our future is on these pages,
    Long, Long life and HAPPINESS with GOD.
    type this in youtube bazjaz1

    Lave ya !
    Bill Bass

  6. BILL says:

    bazjaz1

    Type that name in youtube if you want to see a man still in love! you’re going to be the greatest Mom, such a lucky boy,Great times are on their way… now, you’re better than ever; A Queen Gatta do; what a Queen Gatta do! Right? And now you’re doing it.Wish he were mine. Did He even dance with you? Or wright you EVEN one LOVE SONG?

    JANET JACKSON, SOMEBODY REALLY LOVES YOU, GUESS WHO ? ME!
    And remember, those songs on youtube, are just storybords, to my Music Videos I’ll dedicate to you. I have 14 songs you, and only you inspired, 323.338.2876
    http://www.secretnotes.info
    Love you, PRAY FOR US, BILL BASS

  7. Spencer & Family says:

    Congrads Janet on the birth of your baby boy.

  8. Blake says:

    This site is really cool. I have bookmarked it.
    Do you allow guest post on your blog ? I can write high
    quality articles for you. Let me know.

  9. Nickcole Collins says:

    Hey Janet Jackson Like To Wish You A Great Happy Birthday. I will Celebrate and listen to your music.

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Laura Nov 5, 2017
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