Skip to main content
Select Source:

Jackson, Janet

Janet Jackson

1966—

Singer, actor

Born into one of the most successful musical families in the history of pop music, Janet Jackson began her entertainment career as a television actress but established herself as a singing star of the first order by the end of the 1980s. Over the past two decades she has emerged as one of the biggest pop music stars of all time. At the tender age of sixteen she released her first album, and though it took a few years before she scored any large-scale hits, she soon rivaled the astonishing success of Michael, her superstar brother. She has released a number of smash singles and has also received many awards from her peers and from numerous civic organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The release of her long-awaited janet. album in 1993, along with her motion picture debut in Poetic Justice, signaled her transition to grown-up pop idol: sexier, more versatile, and more independent. Articulating her artistic goals in a Rolling Stone interview, she declared, "I'm talking about responding to the world emotionally, directly. Art that comes from the heart, not the head." Having sold over one hundred million albums, according to Billboard, that emotional appeal has clearly connected with much of the listening public.

Janet Damita Jo Jackson was born in 1966 to Joseph and Katherine Jackson in Gary, Indiana, the youngest of nine children. When five of her brothers—known as the Jackson Five—became pop superstars in the early 1970s, the family moved to California. Janet's first stage appearance was in a Las Vegas revue when she was seven years old. Unlike her brothers, Janet first made her way into the public eye through acting: at age eleven she landed the role of Penny on the situation comedy Good Times. Parts in the series Diff'rent Strokes and Fame followed, as she grew up before the nation's eyes. It was at the urging of her father that she ventured into music. "My dad would tell me, ‘You have to do this and this and this,’" she told Us magazine. "And I'd just say ‘Okay,’ and do it." Later on, Jackson remembered in a Rolling Stone interview that she told her father she didn't want him to manage her any longer: "I couldn't say the words —I was bawling like a baby—and finally he just said: ‘You don't want me involved in your career. Isn't that it?’ ‘Yes,’ I finally had the nerve to say, ‘that's it.’"

Music Moved Her

Janet's debut as a recording artist came with her 1982 album Janet Jackson, released by A&M Records. Even though the album's highest-charting single failed to reach the Top Forty, she established her own following by touring high schools to promote it and to encourage students to stay in school.

However, she threw her family a curve in the summer of 1984, when she eloped with the singer James DeBarge. The two announced their nuptials in September of that year from Michigan, though the wedding was annulled by the following spring and Jackson ended up returning to her family's home in Encino, California. "I went through a lot, from age 15 1/2 to about 19 years," she disclosed to Ebony in a 1993 interview. "I was very young. I used to hurt so badly that I'd ask God why, what have I done to deserve any of this? I feel now He was preparing me for this, for the future. That's the way I see it." In the wake of the marriage's annulment, Jackson was comforted by her longtime friend Rene Elizondo, with whom she later developed a romantic relationship.

November of 1984 saw the release of Jackson's second effort, Dream Street. Despite the participation of the producers Giorgio Moroder and Jesse Johnson and a duet with the pop legend Cliff Richard, the record didn't sell that well. Not until her next album, Control, did Jackson become a contender in the pop world. Teamed with the hot Rhythm and Blues (R&B) producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who cowrote much of the material, Jackson seemed in her musical element at last. "She had made two records with producers who basically said, ‘Here's the song, go in and sing it,’" Jam told Steve Pond of Us. "And when she started working with us, she expected us to do the same thing. But you have to remember that it really wasn't her idea to be a singer. It was really her father's, and she's gone from basically doing something that her father suggested to really enjoying it and feeling confident about it."

Gained Confidence with Control

Released in 1986 and promoted domestically with a thirteen-city tour, Control began to move thanks to the single "What Have You Done for Me Lately," which rose to the top of the R&B chart. During the album's lengthy stay on the British pop chart, it reached the number-eight position; in the United States it fared even better, topping the album chart and achieving platinum status. Thanks to the smash singles "Nasty," "When I Think of You," "Let's Wait Awhile," "The Pleasure Principle," and the record's title track, the twenty-year-old Jackson became the youngest artist to attain the number-one position on the U.S. charts since Stevie Wonder reached it at age thirteen. Control went on to sell eight million copies.

Jackson performed at the 1987 Grammy Awards but didn't take home any statues. She did, however, come up the winner in several categories of Billboard's year-end survey. Also, the video for "Nasty"—which was choreographed by the rising star Paula Abdul—won a trophy at the MTV Video Music Awards. In November A&M released Control—The Remixes, a collection of eight alternate versions of Jackson's hits.

At a Glance …

Born Janet Damita Jo Jackson on May 16, 1966, in Gary, IN; daughter of Joseph Jackson (a music manager) and Katherine Corse Jackson (a homemaker and sales clerk); married James DeBarge (a singer), 1984 (annulled 1985); married Rene Elizondo (film director and actor), 1991 (divorced 2000).

Career: Actor, 1973—; recording and performing music artist, 1982—; signed recording contract with Virgin Records, 1991; songwriter and coproducer of numerous solo albums with Virgin Records, 1993-2006.

Awards: Platinum records for Control, 1986, Rhythm Nation 1814, 1989, and janet., 1993; MTV Video Music Awards, 1987 and 1991; Grammy Award for Best Music Video, 1990; three Soul Train Awards, 1990; awarded star on Hollywood "Walk of Fame" during "Janet Jackson Week," Los Angeles, 1990; Billboard-Tanqueray Sterling Artist of Achievement, 1990; BMI Pop Awards, Songwriter of the Year, 1990; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Chairman's Award, 1992; Sammy Davis Jr. Award for Entertainer of the Year, 1992; American Music Awards, Award of Merit, 2001; Radio Music Awards, Legend Award, 2004; NCAA Image Award, Best Supporting Actress, 2008; Human Rights Campaign, Humanitarian Award, 2005; Gay & Lesbian Alliance against Defamation, Vanguard Award, 2008.

Addresses: Office—c/o Island Records, 825 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 10019.

Though she began work on it in 1988, Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 did not hit the stores until the fall of the following year. Jackson described it to Essence as an album "containing my views about what was going on in the world and the problems we have in trying to educate the kids and give them hope." Working again with Jam and Lewis, Jackson proved that Control's success was no accident. The album topped the U.S. charts four weeks after its release and produced hit after hit, including "Miss You Much," "Escape," the hard-rocking "Black Cat," "Come Back to Me," and "Love Will Never Do (without You)." Jackson again performed at the Grammy Awards and again went home empty-handed, though the album's long-form video counterpart won a trophy. Regardless, Jackson received her share of honors, including a Los Angeles celebration of "Janet JacksonWeek," a star on Hollywood's "Walk of Fame," and an array of Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, and Soul Train Awards. BMI honored her as songwriter of the year in 1990, "Janet Jackson's year," according to David Ritz of Essence.

Ultimately, Rhythm Nation 1814—the number refers to the year in which the U.S. national anthem was composed—became the first album ever to have seven of its singles on the Billboard Top Five; four of those singles reached the number-one position. Jackson's 1990 world tour was an enormous success; she shared the wealth it generated by donating 25 cents from each ticket sold to the Cities in Schools program, which works to keep kids from dropping out of school. After the tour ended, she gave nearly a half-million dollars to the United Negro College Fund in the form of a Rhythm Nation Scholarship. In 1991 she signed a recording contract with Virgin Records that, at $50 million, stood as the most lucrative in history—for about a week, after which time it was surpassed by brother Michael's new deal with Sony.

Jackson received a Chairman's Award from the NAACP in 1992 in recognition of her public service work, especially on behalf of young people. "I don't consider myself a social leader," the singer told Essence, "but I do feel a responsibility that comes with being an entertainer. For me the big issues all come down to the children. What are we doing to protect them, to make their future world better? I'll never stop fighting illiteracy and drugs [and helping organizations that work to combat AIDS]," she added.

As she addressed these large issues, however, she found increasing public attention focused on conflicts within her family. Public acrimony between her sister LaToya—also a performer—and the rest of the Jackson clan gained considerable publicity, and Janet was forced to comment, admitting the rift. She told Ritz that she tried to reestablish contact with LaToya, but "communication between us has proved impossible."

Meanwhile, she and Michael appeared together on the 1993 Grammy Awards, where he jokingly stated that their dual appearance put to rest rumors that they were the same person. Entertainment Weekly's David Browne quipped, "Only Michael would take such a story seriously—after all anyone can see it is he and LaToya who look frighteningly alike." Janet admitted to competitive feelings with her brother in her Ebony interview, noting that she wants "to break his records," yet she insisted that this was not mere familial jealousy. "I'm very competitive. If someone is at No. 1 and I'm at No. 2, then I want the No. 1 spot. But I feel there is enough room for everyone. Everyone. I really do. Enough room for Whitney [Houston, megastar soul-pop diva], for myself, for my brother, for everyone."

Poetic Justice and janet.: Two New Personae

The year 1993 marked not only the release of another massively successful Jackson album but also her first acting role in a feature film. Jackson was cast by the director-writer John Singleton, who became a Hollywood sensation with his debut film Boyz N the Hood, to play the lead role in his follow-up effort, Poetic Justice. "It was something about Janet that really made me feel this character was her," he told Allison Samuels of Upscale magazine. "It's something about her eyes that are very telling." Though she grew up in the suburbs, Singleton remarked to Essence that he had "always viewed Janet as the Ultimate Homegirl. She has a secret fire. I call it subdued intensity." Jackson was advised against accepting the role by some industry figures who wanted her to stay closer to her pop-singer persona. "The studio head adamantly warned me against it," she said. "‘It's a mistake for your first feature film to be all Black.’ He said it was too ethnic, too artsy, too heavy. ‘Make a comedy. Take it easy. Play a character closer to you. Play it safe.’" Instead, Jackson took the role of Singleton's hairdresser-poet and prepared by—as Singleton recalled it—"doing hair in a salon on 54th Street in South Central Los Angeles."

Jackson made new friends during the project. She told Ritz, "I met four girls from South Central through John—one of them was a hairdresser—who wound up living with me for eight weeks. We shopped, played, danced, went to Disneyland. We did everything together, we talked long into the night about our lives, opening our hearts to each other. The learning process never stopped." Nonetheless, she and the film received a less-than-friendly response from critics. The Time reviewer Richard Schickel called it "simply awful" and described Jackson's acting as a nonperformance, insisting that she "relates to the camera lens as if it were a mirror." Entertainment Weekly found the movie a "dawdling mishmash" and had no more praise for Jackson's work than did Schickel: "Jackson isn't an inept actress, yet there are no more edges to her personality than there are to her plastic Kewpie-doll visage."

While other artists might have withered at such critical scorn, Jackson seemed to sail past the debacle of the movie's critical reception and into the glow of her new album's success. The heavily promoted janet. presented the singer's new, sexier image as lusty and independent. The hit singles "That's the Way Love Goes" and "If" sported steamy videos. Jackson ex- plained to Us that her mother wanted to attend the filming of the latter. "I said, ‘Some of my movements are very sexy. They're not dirty, they're very sexy. And just by you being my mother, I'd be embarrassed.’ She responded, ‘Well, if I make you shy in any way or pull back, then I shouldn't be there.’ I said, ‘No, you can come down if you like.’" Yet, perhaps unsurprisingly, "She wound up not coming."

"As princess of America's black royal family," reasoned the Rolling Stone reviewer Touré, "everything Janet Jackson does is important." Thus, "when she announces her sexual maturity, as she does on her new album, janet., it's a cultural moment." Touré noted that Jackson's new duties as coproducer somewhat toned down the pyrotechnics of Jam and Lewis, "resulting in a less groundbreaking sound but a wider-ranging album," and dubbed it a "victory." The Upscale reviewer David Taylor pointed to janet.'s combination "of a variety of musical genres—funk, hip-hop, jazz, rock and rap," as well as diverse guest vocals from the opera star Kathleen Battle and Chuck D of Public Enemy, deeming the 1993 release "without a doubt, an outstanding album." Meanwhile, Entertainment Weekly found it overproduced, fraught with "Hallmark [greeting card] lyrics, and uncertain about its own sexual boldness." Nonetheless, the album soon proved that reviews were immaterial to Jackson's success as a musical artist. And despite her struggles, as Singleton commented in the Us interview, "The way I look at it, she just has a really good job."

With not only a good job but also an incredibly famous family, Jackson was able to team up with one of the most noted entertainers of the twentieth century, her brother, Michael Jackson. The pair teamed up in 1995 to record the single "Scream." The song was a send up to the many media outlets that had been tormenting Michael in the early 1990s. The video created for the song proved to be one of the most expensive in history and arguably one of the most excitingly choreographed videos ever.

Her Design of a Decade: 1986-1996 release in 1995 celebrated ten years at the top of the charts for Jackson. The compilation included hits from Control through janet. and two new songs, "Twenty Foreplay" and "Runaway," and was also available in video form. But her next feature album, The Velvet Rope, took the newfound sexuality from janet. to the next level. In a 1997 interview with Jet, Janet said, "The Velvet Rope will mean different things to different people. To me, it became the concept that allowed me to put into words and music so much of what I've been going through. The Velvet Rope is my most personal album."

The album included topics on everything from racism to AIDS, same-sex love, and soft-shelled bondage. But the most revealing portions of the recording would not be decipherable until the announcement in 1999 of a marriage between Jackson and long-time companion, Rene Elizondo. With the announcement that he was filing for divorce from the singer, Elizondo revealed that the pair had been married since 1991. He went on to file suit against Jackson for $10 million, citing uncompensated work on albums dating back to Rhythm Nation 1814. Jackson had begun publicly recognizing Elizondo's contributions to her career during the promotion of The Velvet Rope.

Jackson was able to keep the turmoil in her relationship out of the press even after the release of such a revealing piece and continued to expand her entertainment career with a successful tour surrounding The Velvet Rope. Her next project had her once again wetting her acting chops in a comedy, starring opposite the comedian Eddie Murphy in Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000). Her next release, All for You, appeared to be the opposite of The Velvet Rope by trading in the sad solitude for an upbeat and happy song, but it still oozed sexuality. The first single, "All for You," was the tenth number-one single for the singer, so she still had much to celebrate. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Jackson stated, "This album could have ended up exactly like The Velvet Rope because of what's gone on in my life since then, like the divorce. But I believe we have choices and paths, and it's about choosing the right path, the promising path."

In 2001 Jackson received the Award of Merit at the twenty-eighth annual American Music Awards. She was also the first artist honored by MTV Icon, a series of programs dedicated to artists they consider to be music video icons. She also launched an All for You World Tour during the summer of 2001. With nearly thirty years in entertainment, Jackson managed to remain an innovator and trend setter in the entertainment business. In 2004 she received the Legend Award at the Radio Music Awards.

Also in 2004 Jackson released her Damita Jo album. But controversy dogged her that year, after an incident during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston. The singer Justin Timberlake ripped off part of her costume, exposing her right breast in what publicists termed a "wardrobe malfunction." The furor triggered an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission and led to the CBS television network rescinding its invitation for Jackson to appear at the Grammy Awards ceremony, because she would not apologize.

Jackson's Super Bowl apparel mishap seemed to cause more than a minor career hiccup. Her videos were blacklisted for a time by MTV, and some radio stations refused to play her songs. Neither Damita Jo nor her next album, 20 Y.O., managed to hit the one million mark in U.S. sales.

As she worked toward a comeback, Jackson, who was approaching age forty, chose to remake her physical image as well as her public image. She began working out vigorously and sticking to a healthy diet, eventually losing as much as sixty pounds in 2006. In 2007, after a seven-year absence from the big screen, Jackson returned to her acting roots with a starring role in Tyler Perry's film Why Did I Get Married? The movie received enthusiastic praise from critics, and Jackson received an NAACP Image Award for her work in the picture.

Meanwhile, Jackson's romantic partner—and the producer of her recent albums—Jermaine Dupri became frustrated over Virgin's lack of support of Jackson's records and left his position as president of Virgin's urban music division for a similar job at Island Records. Jackson made the move with him. Her first record on her new label, Discipline, released in early 2008, climbed to the top of the Billboard charts, marking Jackson's first appearance at number one since 2001. It seemed that the rehabilitation of Jackson's image—and selling power—was complete.

Selected discography

Janet Jackson, A&M, 1982.

Dream Street, A&M, 1984.

Control, A&M, 1986.

Rhythm Nation 1814, A&M, 1989.

janet., Virgin, 1993.

The Velvet Rope, Virgin, 1997.

All for You, Virgin, 2001.

Damita Jo, Virgin, 2004.

20 Y.O., Virgin, 2006.

Discipline, Island, 2008.

Sources

Books

Rees, Dafydd, and Luke Crampton, Rock Movers & Shakers, ABC-CLIO, 1991.

Periodicals

Billboard, September 9, 2006.

Chicago Tribune, April 23, 2001.

Ebony, September 1986; September 1993; March 1999; October 2006, p. 180; April 2008, p. 72.

Entertainment Weekly, May 21, 1993; July 23, 1993; May 4, 2001.

Essence, May 1993, pp. 84-86, 140-142.

Jet, November 17, 1997; June 19, 2000; January 29, 2001; April 20, 2001.

Newsweek, July 21, 1986; May 24, 1993, p. 51.

Rolling Stone, April 24, 1986; October 19, 1989; June 24, 1993, p. 78; September 16, 1993, pp. 38-43, 82.

Time, April 26, 1993, p. 73; July 26, 1993, pp. 67-68.

Upscale, June 1993, pp. 27-31; September-October 1993, p. 108.

Us, August 1993, pp. 66-74, 92.

USA Today, February 2, 2004; October 27, 2004; February 26, 2008, p. 1D.

Online

Ibanga, Imaeyen, "Will Jackson's ‘Discipline’ Be Her Breakthrough?" ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/WinterConcert/story?id_4306913&page_1 (accessed May 28, 2008).

"Janet Jackson," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p_amg&sql_11:fifuxqe5ldae˜T0 (accessed May 28, 2008).

Other

Additional information for this profile was provided by Virgin Records and Levine/Schneider Public Relations press materials, 1993.

—Simon Glickman, Leslie Rochelle, and Bob Jacobson

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Jackson, Janet." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Jackson, Janet." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-janet-2

"Jackson, Janet." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-janet-2

Jackson, Janet 1966–

Janet Jackson 1966

Singer, actress

Music Moved Her

Gained Confidence with Control

Bona Fide Superstardom

Justice and Janet.: Two New Personae

Selected discography

Sources

Born into one of the most successful musical families in the history of pop, Janet Jackson began her entertainment career as a television actress but established herself as a singing star of the first order by the end of the 1980s. At the tender age of sixteen she released her first album, and though it took a few years before she scored any large-scale hits, she soon rivaled the astonishing success of her superstar brother Michael. She not only released a number of smash singles but also received many awards from her peers and from numerous civic organizations,

She was born in 1966 to Joseph and Katherine Jackson in Gary, Indiana, the youngest of nine children. When five of her brothersknown as the Jackson 5became pop superstars in the early 1970s, the family moved to California. Janets first stage appearance was in a Las Vegas revue when she was seven years old. Unlike her brothers, Janet first made her way into the public eye through acting: at age eleven she landed the role of Penny on the situation comedy Good Times. Parts in the series Diffrent Strokes and Fame followed, as Janet Jackson grew up before the nations eyes. It was at the urging of her father that she ventured into music. My dad would tell me, You have to do this and this and this, she told Us magazine. And Id just say Okay, and do it. Later on, Jackson remembered in a Rolling Stone interview, she told her father she didnt want him to manage her any longer: I couldnt say the wordsI was bawling like a babyand finally he just said: You dont want me involved in your career. Isnt that it? Yes, I finally had the nerve to say, thats it.

Music Moved Her

Janets debut as a recording artist came with her 1982 album Janet Jackson, released by A&M Records. Although the albums highest-charting single failed to reach the Top 40, she established her own following by touring high schools to promote it and to encourage students to stay in school. She threw her family a curve in the summer of 1984, however, when she eloped with singer James DeBarge. The two announced their nuptials in September of that year from Michigan, though the wedding was annulled by the following spring and Jackson ended up returning to her familys home in Encino, California. I went through a lot, from age 15-1/2 to about 19 years, she disclosed to Ebony in a 1993 interview. I was very young. I used to hurt so badly that Id ask God why, what have I done to

At a Glance

Born Janet Jackson on May 16, 1966, in Gary IN; daughter of Joseph (a music manager) and Katherine Corse Jackson (a homemaker and sales clerk; married James DeBarge (a singer), September 1984 (annulled 1985); married Rene Elizondo (film director, actor), March 1991 (separated 1999).

Career: Actress on television series Good Times, Diffrent Strokes, and Fame, beginning 1977; recording and performing music artist, 1982; guest artist on Herb Alperts album Diamonds, 1987; signed recording contract with Virgin Records, 1991; songwriter, co-producer of own album janet., 1993; actress in film Poetic Justice, 1993; songwriter, co-producer of The Velvet Rope, 1998; songwriter, co-producer of All for You, 2001; actress, Poetic Justice, 1993; actress, The Klumps, Nutty Professor II, 2000.

Awards: Platinum records for Control, 1986, Rhythm Nation 1814, 1989, and janet., 1993; voted top R&B artist, top pop singles artist female, top dance sales artist, and top dance club play artist, 1986, by Billboard; American Music Awards for best R&B single (Nasty) and best female R&B artist, 1987, for favorite dance single and soul/R&B single (Miss You Much), 1990; and for favorite pop/rock female artist, soul/R&B female artist, and dance/music artist, 1991; MTV Video Music Awards, 1987 and 1991; Grammy Award for best music video, 1990; three Soul Train Awards, 1990; awarded star on Hollywood Walk of Fame during Janet Jackson Week, Los Angeles, 1990; Billboard-Tanqueray Sterling Artist of Achievement, 1990; songwriter of the year, BMI Pop Awards, 1990; Chairmans Award, NAACP, 1992; Sammy Davis, Jr., Award for Entertainer of the Year, 1992; American Music Awards, Award of Merit, 2001; Inaugural honoree as an Icon by MTV, 2001.

Addresses: Record company Virgin Records, 338 N. Foothill Rd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.

deserve any of this? I feel now He was preparing me for this, for the future. Thats the way I see it. In the wake of the marriages annulment, Jackson was comforted by longtime friend Rene Elizondo, with whom she later developed a romantic relationship.

November of 1984 saw the release of Jacksons sophomore effort, Dream Street. Despite the participation of producers Giorgio Moroder and Jesse Johnson and a duet with pop legend Cliff Richard, the record didnt sell spectacularly. Not until her next album, Control, did Jackson become a contender in the pop world. Teamed with hot R&B producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who co-wrote much of the material, Jackson seemed in her musical element at last. She had made two records with producers who basically said, Heres the song, go in and sing it, Jam told Steve Pond of Us. And when she started working with us, she expected us to do the same thing. But you have to remember that it really wasnt her idea to be a singer. It was really her fathers, and shes gone from basically doing something that her father suggested to really enjoying it and feeling confident about it.

Gained Confidence with Control

Released in 1986 and promoted domestically with a 13-city tour, Control began to move thanks to the single What Have You Done for Me Lately, which rose to the top of the R&B chart. During the albums lengthy stay on the British pop chart, it reached the Number Eight position; in the United States it fared even better, topping the album chart and achieving platinum status. Thanks to the smash singles, Nasty, When I Think of You, Lets Wait Awhile, The Pleasure Principle, and the records title track, the 20-year-old Jackson became the youngest artist to attain the number one position on the U.S. charts since Stevie Wonder reached it at age thirteen. Control went on to sell eight million copies.

Jackson performed at the 1987 Grammy Awards but didnt take home any statues; she was to be compensated generously in the ensuing years. She did, however, come up the winner in several categories of Billboard magazines year-end survey. Also, the video for Nasty choreographed by rising star Paula Abdulwon a trophy at the MTV Video Music Awards. In November, A&M released Control The Remixes, a collection of eight alternate versions of Jacksons hits.

Bona Fide Superstardom

Though she began work on it in 1988, Janet Jacksons Rhythm Nation 1814 did not hit the stores until the fall of the following year. Jackson described it to Essence as an album containing my views about what was going on in the world and the problems we have in trying to educate the kids and give them hope. Working again with Jam and Lewis, Jackson proved that Controls success was no accident. The album topped the U.S. charts four weeks after its release and produced hit after hit, including Miss You Much, Escape, the hard-rocking Black Cat, Come Back to Me, and Love Will Never Do (Without You). Jackson again performed at the Grammy Awards and again went home empty-handed, though the albums long-form video counterpart won a trophy. Yet Jackson received her share of honors, including a Los Angeles celebration of Janet Jackson Week, a star on Hollywoods Walk of Fame, and an array of Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, and Soul Train Awards. BMI honored her as songwriter of the year in 1990, Janet Jacksons year, according to Essence writer David Ritz.

Ultimately, Rhythm Nation 1814 the number refers to the year in which the National Anthem of the United States was composedbecame the first album ever to have seven of its singles on the Billboard Top Five; four of those singles reached the Number One position. Jacksons 1990 World Tour was an enormous success; she shared the wealth it generated by donating 25 cents from each ticket sold to the Cities in Schools program, which works to keep kids from dropping out of school. After the tour ended, she gave nearly a half-million dollars to the United Negro College Fund in the form of a Rhythm Nation Scholarship. In 1991 she signed a recording contract with Virgin Records that, at $50 million, stood as the most lucrative in historyfor about a week, after which time it was surpassed by brother Michaels new deal with Sony.

Jackson received a Chairmans Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1992 in recognition of her public service work, especially on behalf of young people. I dont consider myself a social leader, the singer told Essence, but I do feel a responsibility that comes with being an entertainer. For me the big issues all come down to the children. What are we doing to protect them, to make their future world better? Ill never stop fighting illiteracy and drugs [and helping organizations that work to combat AIDS], she added.

As she addressed these large issues, however, she found increasing public attention focused on conflicts within her family. Public acrimony between her sister LaToyaalso a performerand the rest of the Jackson clan gained considerable publicity, and Janet was forced to comment, admitting the rift. She told Ritz of Essence that she tried to reestablish contact with LaToya, but communication between us has proved impossible.

Meanwhile, she and Michael appeared together on the 1993 Grammy Awards, where he jokingly stated that their dual appearance put to rest rumors that they were the same person. Entertainment Weeklys David Browne quipped, Only Michael would take such a story seriouslyafter all anyone can see it is he and LaToya who look frighteningly alike. Janet admitted to competitive feelings with her brother in her Ebony interview, noting that she wants to break his records, yet she insisted that this was not mere familial jealousy. Im very competitive. If someone is at No. 1 and Im at No. 2, then I want the No. 1 spot. But I feel there is enough room for everyone. Everyone. I really do. Enough room for Whitney [Houston, megastar soulpop diva], for myself, for my brother, for everyone.

Justice and Janet.: Two New Personae

The year 1993 marked not only the release of another massively successful Jackson album, but her first acting role in a feature film. Jackson was cast by director-writer John Singleton, who became a Hollywood sensation with his debut film Boyz N the Hood, to play the lead role in his follow-up effort, Poetic Justice. It was something about Janet that really made me feel this character was her, he told Allison Samuels of Upscale magazine. Its something about her eyes that are very telling. Though she grew up in the suburbs, Singleton remarked to Essence that he had always viewed Janet as the Ultimate Homegirl. She has a secret fire. I call it subdued intensity. Jackson was advised against accepting the role by some industry figures who wanted her to stay closer to her pop singer persona. The studio head adamantly warned me against it, she said. Its a mistake for your first feature film to be all Black. He said it was too ethnic, too artsy, too heavy. Make a comedy. Take it easy. Play a character closer to you. Play it safe. Instead, Jackson took the role of Singletons hairdresser-poet, and prepared byas Singleton recalled itdoing hair in a salon on 54th Street in South Central Los Angeles.

Jackson made new friends during the project. She told Ritz: I met four girls from South Central through Johnone of them was a hairdresserwho wound up living with me for eight weeks. We shopped, played, danced, went to Disneyland. We did everything together, we talked long into the night about our lives, opening our hearts to each other. The learning process never stopped. Nonetheless, she and the film received a less-than-friendly response from critics. Time reviewer Richard Schickel called it simply awful and described Jacksons acting as a non-performance, insisting that she relates to the camera lens as if it were a mirror. Entertainment Weekly found the movie a dawdling mishmash and had no more praise for Jacksons work than did Schickel: Jackson isnt an inept actress, yet there are no more edges to her personality than there are to her plastic Kewpie-doll visage.

While other artists might have withered at such critical scorn, Jackson seemed to sail past the debacle of the movies critical reception and into the glow of her new albums success. The heavily-promoted janet. presented the singers new, sexier image: lusty and independent. The hit singles Thats the Way Love Goes and If sported steamy videos. Jackson explained to Us that her mother wanted to attend the filming of the latter. I said, Some of my movements are very sexy. Theyre not dirty, theyre very sexy. And just by you being my mother, Id be embarrassed. She responded, Well, if I make you shy in any way or pull back, then I shouldnt be there. I said, No, you can come down if you like. Yet, perhaps unsurprisingly, She wound up not coming.

As princess of Americas black royal family, reasoned Rolling Stone reviewer Toure, everything Janet Jackson does is important. Thus when she announces her sexual maturity, as she does on her new album, janet., its a cultural moment. Toure noted that Jacksons new duties as co-producer somewhat toned down the pyrotechnics of Jam and Lewis, resulting in a less groundbreaking sound but a wider-ranging album, and dubbed it a victory. Upscale reviewer David Taylor pointed to janet.s combination of a variety of musical genresfunk, hip-hop, jazz, rock and rap, as well as diverse guest vocals from opera star Kathleen Battle and Chuck D of Public Enemy, deeming the 1993 release without a doubt, an outstanding album. Entertainment Weekly, meanwhile, found it overproduced, fraught with Hallmark [greeting card] lyrics, and uncertain about its own sexual boldness. Nonetheless, the album soon proved that reviews one way or another were immaterial to Jacksons success as a musical artist. And despite her struggles, as Singleton commented in the Us interview, The way I look at it, she just has a really good job.

With not only a good job, but an incredibly famous family, Jackson was able to team up with one of the most noted entertainers of the twentieth century, her brother, Michael Jackson. The pair teamed up in 1995 to record the single Scream. The song was a send up to the many media outlets that had been tormenting Michael in the early 1990s. The video created for the song proved to be one of the most expensive in history and arguably one of the most excitingly choreographed videos ever.

Her Design of a Decade release in 1996 celebrated ten years at the top of the charts for Jackson. The compilation included hits from Control through the janet. album and two new songs, Twenty Foreplay and Runaway and was also available in video form. But her next feature album, The Velvet Rope, took the newfound sexuality from janet. to the next level. In a 1997 interview with Jet, Janet said The Velvet Rope will mean different things to different people. To me, it became the concept that allowed me to put into words and music so much of what Ive been going through. The Velvet Rope is my most personal album.

The album included topics on everything from racism to AIDS, same sex love and soft-shelled bondage. But the most revealing portions of the recording would not be decipherable until the announcement in 1999 of a marriage between Jackson and long-time companion, Rene Elizondo. With the announcement that he was filing for divorce from the singer, Elizondo revealed that the pair had been married since 1991. Elizondo went on to file suit against Jackson for $10 million, citing uncompensated work on albums dating back to Rhythm Nation 1814. Jackson had begun publicly recognizing Elizondos contributions to her career during the promotion of The Velvet Rope.

Jackson was able to keep the turmoil in her relationship out of the press even after the release of such a revealing piece and continued to expand her entertainment career with a successful tour surrounding The Velvet Rope. Her next project had her once again wetting her acting chops in a comedy, starring opposite comedian Eddie Murphy in The Klumps, Nutty Professor II. Her next release, All For You, appeared to be the opposite of The Velvet Rope by trading in the sad solitude for an upbeat and happy song, but still oozed sexuality. The first single, All For You was the tenth number one single for the singer so she still had much to celebrate. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Jackson stated, This album could have ended up exactly like The Velvet Rope because of whats gone on in my life since then, like the divorce. But I believe we have choices and paths, and its about choosing the right path, the promising path.

With the success of her eighth album and potential for a promising film career, Jacksons path appeared to be nothing but promising. She received the Merit award at the 28th annual American Music awards. Janet was also the first artist honored by MTV Icon, a series of programs dedicated to artists they consider music video icons. She also launched an All For You World Tour during the summer of 2001. With more than 30 years in entertainment, Jackson managed to remain an innovator and trend setter in the entertainment business.

Selected discography

Janet Jackson, A&M, 1982.

Dream Street, A&M, 1984.

Control, A&M, 1986.

(Guest appearance) Herb Alpert, Diamonds, A&M, 1987.

Rhythm Nation 1814, A&M, 1989.

janet., Virgin, 1993.

Design of a Decade, Virgin, 1996.

The Velvet Rope, Virgin, 1998.

All For You, Virgin, 2001.

Sources

Books

Rees, Dafydd, and Luke Crampton, Rock Movers & Shakers, Billboard Books, 1991.

Periodicals

Chicago Tribune, April 23, 2001.

Ebony, September 1986; September 1993; March 1999.

Entertainment Weekly, May 21, 1993; July 23, 1993; May 4, 2001.

Essence, May 1993, pp. 84-86, 140-142.

Jet, November 17, 1997; June 19, 2000; January 29, 2001; April 20, 2001.

Newsweek, July 21, 1986; May 24, 1993, p. 51.

Rolling Stone, April 24, 1986; October 19, 1989; June 24, 1993, p. 78; September 16, 1993, pp. 38-43, 82.

Time, April 26, 1993, p. 73; July 26, 1993, pp. 67-68.

Upscale, June 1993, pp. 27-31; September/October 1993, p. 108.

Us, August 1993, pp. 66-74, 92.

Other

Additional information for this profile was provided by Virgin Records and Levine/Schneider Public Relations press materials, 1993.

Simon Glickman and Leslie Rochelle

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Jackson, Janet 1966–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Jackson, Janet 1966–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-janet-1966-0

"Jackson, Janet 1966–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-janet-1966-0

Jackson, Janet 1966–

Janet Jackson 1966

Singer, actress

At a Glance

Gained Confidence with Control

Bona Fide Superstardom

Justice and janet.: Two New Personae

Selected discography

Sources

Coming from one of the most successful musical families in the history of pop, Janet Jackson began her entertainment career as a television actress but established herself as a singing star of the first order by the end of the 1980s. At the tender age of sixteen she released her first album, and though it took a few years before she scored any large-scale hits, she soon rivaled her superstar brother Michaels astonishing success. She not only released a number of smash singles, but also received a slew of awards from her peers and from numerous civic organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The release of her long-awaited janet. album in 1993, along with her motion picture debut in the film Poetic Justice, signaled her transition to grown-up pop idol: sexier, more versatile, and more independent. Though critics largely panned the film and had mixed responses to her album, Jackson managed to redefine herself and stake an even larger claim in the fiercely competitive pop world. Articulating her artistic goals in a Rolling Stone interview, she declared, Im talking about responding to the world emotionally, directly. Art that comes from the heart, not the head.

She was born in 1966 to Joseph and Katherine Jackson in Gary, Indiana, the youngest of nine children. When five of her brother--known as the Jackson ers became pop superstars in the early 1970s, the family moved to California. Janets first stage appearance was in a Las Vegas revue when she was seven years old. Unlike her brothers, Janet first made her way into the public eye through acting: at age eleven she landed the role of Penny on the situation comedy Good Times. Parts on the series Diffrent Strokes and Fame followed, as Janet Jackson grew up before the nations eyes. It was at the urging of her father that she ventured into music. My dad would tell me, You have to do this and this and this, she told Us magazine. And Id just say Okay, and do it. Later on, Jackson remembered in a Rolling Stone interview, she told her father she didnt want him to manage her any longer: I couldnt say the wordsI was bawling like a babyand finally he just said: You dont want me involved in your career. Isnt that it? Yes, I finally had the nerve to say, thats it.

Janets debut as a recording artist came with her 1982 album Janet Jackson, released by A&M Records. Although the albums highest-charting single failed to reach the Top 40, she established her own following by touring high schools to promote it and to encourage students to stay in school. She

At a Glance

Born May 16, 1966, in Gary, IN; daughter of Joseph (a music manager) and Katherine Jackson (a home-maker and sales clerk; maiden name, Corse); married James DeBarge (a singer), September 1984 (marriage annulled 1985).

Actress on television series Good Times, Diffrent Strokes, and Fame, beginning 1977; recording and performing music artist, 1982; guest artist on Herb Alperts album Diamonds, 1987; signed recording contract with Virgin Records, 1991; songwriter, co-producer of own album janet, 1993; actress in film Poetic Justice, 1993.

Awards: Platinum records for Control, 1986, Rhythm Nation 1814, 1989, and janet, 1993; voted top R&B artist, top pop singles artist female, top dance sales artist, and top dance club play artist, 1986, by Billboard; American Music Awards for best R&B single (Nasty) and best female R&B artist, 1987, for favorite dance single and soul/R&B single (Miss You Much), 1990; and for favorite pop/rock female artist, soul/R&B female artist, and dance/music artist, 1991; MTV Video Music Awards, 1987 and 1991; Grammy Award for best music video, 1990; three Soul Train Awards, 1990; awarded star on Hollywood Walk of Fame during Janet Jackson Week, Los Angeles, 1990; Billboard-Tanqueray Sterling Artist of Achievement, 1990; songwriter of the year, BMI Pop Awards, 1990; Chairmans Award, NAACP, 1992; Sammy Davis, Jr., Award for Entertainer of the Year, 1992.

Addresses: Record company Virgin Records, 338 N. Foothill Rd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Publicist Levine/ Schneider Public Relations, 8730 Sunset Blvd., 6th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

threw her family a curve in the summer of 1984, however, when she eloped with singer James DeBarge. The two announced their nuptials in September of that year from Michigan, though the marriage was annulled by the following spring and Jackson ended up returning to her familys home in Encino, California. I went through a lot, from age 15 to about 19 years, she disclosed to Ebony in a 1993 interview. I was very young. I used to hurt so badly that Id ask God why, what have I done to deserve any of this? I feel now He was preparing me for this, for the future. Thats the way I see it. In the wake of the annulment, Jackson was comforted by longtime friend Rene Elizondo, with whom she would later develop a romantic relationship.

November of 1984 saw the release of Jacksons sophomore effort, Dream Street. Despite the participation of producers Giorgio Moroder and Jesse Johnson and a duet with pop legend Cliff Richard, the record didnt sell spectacularly. Not until her next album, Control did Jackson become a contender in the pop world. Teamed with hot R&B producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who co-wrote much of the material, Jackson seemed in her musical element at last. She had made two records with producers who basically said, Heres the song, go in and sing it, Jam told Steve Pond of Us. And when she started working with us, she expected us to do the same thing. But you have to remember that it really wasnt her idea to be a singer. It was really her fathers, and shes gone from basically doing something that her father suggested to really enjoying it and feeling confident about it.

Gained Confidence with Control

Released in 1986 and promoted domestically with a 13-city tour, Control began to move thanks to the single What Have You Done for Me Lately, which moved to the top of the R&B chart. During the albums lengthy stay on the British pop chart, it reached the Number Eight position; in the United States it fared even better, topping the album chart and achieving platinum status. Thanks to the smash singles Nasty, When I Think of You, Lets Wait Awhile, The Pleasure Principle and the records title track, the 20-year-old Jackson became the youngest artist to attain the Number One position on the U.S. charts since Stevie Wonder reached it at age thirteen. Control went on to sell eight million copies.

Jackson performed at the 1987 Grammy Awards but didnt take home any statues; she would be compensated generously in the ensuing years. She did, however, come up the winner in several categories of Billboard magazines year-end survey. Also, the video for Nastychoreographed by rising star Paula Abdulwon a trophy at the MTV Video Music Awards. In November, A&M released ControlThe Remixes, a collection of eight alternate versions of Jacksons hits.

Bona Fide Superstardom

Though she began work on it in 1988, Janet Jacksons Rhythm Nation 1814 didnt hit the stores until the fall of the following year. Jackson described it to Essence as an album containing my views about what was going on in the world and the problems we have in trying to educate the kids and give them hope. Working again with Jam and Lewis, Jackson proved that Controls success was no accident. The album topped the U.S. charts four weeks after its release, and produced hit after hit, including Miss You Much, Escape, the hard-rocking Black Cat, Come Back to Me, and Love Will Never Do (Without You). Jackson again performed at the Grammy Awards and again went home empty-handed, though the albums long-form video counterpart won a trophy. Yet Jackson received her share of honorifics, including a Los Angeles celebration of Janet Jackson Week, a star on Hollywoods Walk of Fame, and an array of Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, and Soul Train Awards. BMI honored her as songwriter of the year in 1990Janet Jacksons year, according to Essence writer David Ritz.

Ultimately, Rhythm Nation 1814 the number refers to the year in which the National Anthem of the United States was composedbecame the first album ever to have seven of its singles on the Billboard Top Five; four of those singles reached the Number One position. Jacksons 1990 World Tour was an enormous success; she shared the wealth it generated by donating 25 cents from each ticket sold to the Cities in Schools program, which works to keep kids from dropping out of school. After the tour ended, she gave nearly a half-million dollars to the United Negro College Fund in the form of a Rhythm Nation Scholarship. In 1991 she signed a recording contract with Virgin Records that, at $50 million, stood as the most lucrative in historyfor about a week, after which time it was surpassed by her brother Michaels new deal with Sony.

Jackson received a Chairmans Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1992 in recognition of her public service work, especially on behalf of young people. I dont consider myself a social leader, the singer told Essence, but I do feel a responsibility that comes with being an entertainer. For me the big issues all come down to the children. What are we doing to protect them, to make their future world better? Ill never stop fighting illiteracy and drugs [and helping organizations that work to combat AIDS], she added.

As she addressed these large issues, however, she found increasing public attention focused on conflicts within her family. Public acrimony between her sister LaToyaalso a performerand the rest of the Jackson clan gained considerable publicity, and Janet was forced to comment, admitting the rift. She told Ritz of Essence that she tried to reestablish contact with LaToya, but communication between us has proved impossible.

Meanwhile, she and Michael appeared together on the 1993 Grammy Awards, where he jokingly stated that their dual appearance put to rest rumors that they were the same person. Entertainment Weeklys David Browne quipped, Only Michael would take such a story seriouslyafter all anyone can see it is he and LaToya who look frighteningly alike. Janet admitted to competitive feelings with her brother in her Ebony interview, noting that she wants to break his records, yet she insisted that this was not mere familial jealousy. Im very competitive. If someone is at No. 1 and Im at No. 2, then I want the No. 1 spot. But I feel there is enough room for everyone. Everyone. I really do. Enough room for Whitney [Houston, megastar soul-pop diva], for myself, for my brother, for everyone.

Justice and janet.: Two New Personae

The year 1993 marked not only the release of another massively successful Jackson album, but her first acting role in a feature film. Jackson was cast by director-writer John Singleton, who became a Hollywood sensation with his debut film Boyz N the Hood, to play the lead role in his follow-up effort, Poetic Justice. It was something about Janet that really made me feel this character was her, he told Allison Samuels of Upscale magazine. Its something about her eyes that are very telling. Though she grew up in the suburbs, Singleton remarked to Essence that he has always viewed Janet as the Ultimate Homegirh She has a secret fire. I call it subdued intensity. Jackson was advised against accepting the role by some industry figures who wanted her to stay closer to her pop singer persona. The studio head adamantly warned me against it, she said. Its a mistake for your first feature film to be all Black. He said it was too ethnic, too artsy, too heavy. Make a comedy. Take it easy. Play a character closer to you. Play it safe. Instead, Jackson took the role of Singletons hairdresser-poet, and prepared byas Singleton recalled itdoing hair in a salon on 54th Street in South Central Los Angeles.

Jackson made new friends during the project. She told Ritz: I met four girls from South Central through Johnone of them was a hairdresserwho wound up living with me for eight weeks. We shopped, played, danced, went to Disneyland. We did everything together, we talked long into the night about our lives, opening our hearts to each other. The learning process never stopped. Nonetheless, she and the film received a less-than-friendly response from critics. Time reviewer Richard Schickel called it simply awful and described Jacksons acting as a nonperformance, insisting that she relates to the camera lens as if it were a mirror. Entertainment Weekly found the movie a dawdling mishmash and had no more praise for Jacksons work than did Schickel: Jackson isnt an inept actress, yet there are no more edges to her personality than there are to her plastic Kewpie-doll visage.

While other artists might have withered at such critical scorn, Jackson seemed to sail past the debacle of the movies critical reception and into the glow of her new albums success. The heavily promoted janet. presented the singers new, sexier image: lusty and independent. The hit singles Thats the Way Love Goes and If sported steamy videos. Jackson explained to Us that her mother wanted to attend the filming of the latter. I said, Some of my movements are very sexy. Theyre not dirty, theyre very sexy. And just by you being my mother, Id be embarrassed. She goes, Well, if I make you shy in any way or pull back, then I shouldnt be there. I said, No, you can come down if you like. Yet, perhaps unsurprisingly, She wound up not coming.

As princess of Americas black royal family, reasoned Rolling Stone reviewer Touré, everything Janet Jackson does is important. Thus when she announces her sexual maturity, as she does on her new album, janet., its a cultural moment. Touré noted that Jacksons new duties as co-producer somewhat toned down the pyrotechnics of Jam and Lewis, resulting in a less groundbreaking sound but a wider-ranging album, and dubbed it a victory. Upscale reviewer David Taylor pointed to Janets combination of a variety of musical genresfunk, hip-hop, jazz, rock and rap, as well as diverse guest vocals from opera star Kathleen Battle and Chuck D of Public Enemy, deeming the 1993 release without a doubt, an outstanding album. Entertainment Weekly, meanwhile, found it overproduced, fraught with Hallmark [greeting card] lyrics, and uncertain about its own sexual boldness. Nonetheless, the album soon proved that reviews one way or another were immaterial to Janet Jacksons success as a musical artist. And despite her struggles, as Singleton commented in the Us interview, The way I look at it, she just has a really good job.

Selected discography

Janet Jackson, A&M, 1982.

Dream Street, A&M, 1984.

Control (includes What Have You Done for Me Lately, Nasty, When I Think of You, Lets Wait Awhile, The Pleasure Principle, and Control), A&M, 1986.

(Guest appearance) Herb Alpert, Diamonds, A&M, 1987.

Janet Jacksons Rhythm Nation 1814 (includes Miss You Much, Escape, Black Cat, Come Back to Me, and Love Will Never Do [Without You]), A&M, 1989.

janet. (includes Thats the Way Love Goes and If), Virgin, 1993.

Sources

Books

Rees, Dafydd, and Luke Crampton, Rocíe Movers & Shakers, Billboard Books, 1991.

Periodicals

Ebony, September 1986; September 1993, pp. 36-42.

Entertainment Weekly, May 21, 1993, pp. 46-48; July 23, 1993, pp. 42-43.

Essence, May 1993, pp. 84-86, 140-142.

Newsweek, July 21, 1986; May 24, 1993, p. 51.

Rolling Stone, April 24, 1986; October 19, 1989; June 24, 1993, p. 78; September 16, 1993, pp. 38-43, 82.

Time, April 26, 1993, p. 73; July 26, 1993, pp. 67-68.

Upscale, June 1993, pp. 27-31; September/October 1993, p. 108.

Us, August 1993, pp. 66-74, 92.

Additional information for this profile was provided by Virgin Records and Levine/Schneider Public Relations press materials, 1993.

Simon Glickman

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Jackson, Janet 1966–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Jackson, Janet 1966–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-janet-1966

"Jackson, Janet 1966–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-janet-1966

Jackson, Janet

Janet Jackson

Singer, songwriter

During her impressive run as one of pop music's ruling divas, Janet Jackson cemented her place in music history while outlasting older brother Michael Jackson as a musical act of consequence. Jackson has remained a major figure who writes, records, tours actively, and wins awards for her work. Also an actress, Jackson appeared in the films Poetic Justice in 1993, Nutty Professor II in 2000 and Why Did I Get Married in 2007.

A Child TV Star

Having grown up in America's most celebrated musical family—and in the shadow of her eccentric megastar brother, Michael—Jackson has nonetheless demonstrated a willingness to veer at least briefly from the assured path of mainstream pop. "My concepts are never bright ideas; they're never notions I think will sell or be trendy or attract new fans," she told Rolling Stone's David Ritz. "I don't think that way. All I can do is sing from my life." In addition to establishing herself as a fixture in the firmament of pop music, Jackson has also pursued an acting career, though with decidedly mixed results.

Jackson was born in 1966 to Joseph and Katherine Jackson in Gary, Indiana, the youngest of nine children. Five of her brothers became known as the Jackson 5 and, led by the charismatic Michael, they achieved pop stardom in the early 1970s. The family moved to Encino, California, an affluent section of the San Fernando Valley. In the interview with Ritz, Jackson recalled her upbringing in the Jackson home there, "with peacocks and llamas and giraffes in the back yard." When asked if she was lonely, she replied, "At times, yes," but added, "On certain days, I felt like the luckiest kid in the world." She called "Hot Fun in the Summertime" by soul-rock sensations Sly and the Family Stone "one of the biggest musical influences of my life," adding, "I was only 3 years old when that song had me jumping up and down."

Jackson's debut stage appearance was in a Jackson 5 revue at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas when she was seven. Unlike her brothers, however, she made her way into the public eye through acting. At eleven, after capturing the attention of influential television producer Norman Lear, she landed the role of the abused child Penny on the situation comedy Good Times. Parts on the series Diff'rent Strokes and Fame followed, as Jackson grew up before the nation's eyes. It was at the urging of her father that she ventured into music.

Debut Album

Her solo recording debut, Janet Jackson, was released by A&M Records in 1982. Although the album's highest-charting single failed to reach the top 40, the young singer established her own tradition by touring high schools to promote it. She shocked the Jackson clan in the summer of 1984, however, when she eloped with singer James DeBarge. The couple contacted the family from Michigan to announce they had married, though the wedding was annulled the following spring and Jackson ended up returning to her family's home in Encino. After the annulment, she was comforted by longtime friend Rene Elizondo, with whom she would later develop a romantic relationship.

November of 1984 saw the release of Jackson's sophomore effort, Dream Street. Despite the participation of producers Giorgio Moroder and Jesse Johnson and a duet with pop legend Cliff Richard, the record went nowhere.

With her 1986 album Control, Jackson at last gave an indication of her potential. The project teamed her with hot R&B producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who co-wrote much of the material. Sales of the album surged after the release of the single "What Have You Done for Me Lately," which moved to the top of the R&B chart. It eventually reached the peak spot on the album chart and achieved platinum status five times over. The 20-year-old Jackson became the youngest artist to reach the number one position on the American charts since Stevie Wonder had reached it at age 13. Jackson performed at the 1987 Grammy Awards but didn't take home any trophies. She did, however, win an armload of American Music Awards and came up the favorite in several categories of Billboard magazine's 1986 year-end survey. A&M soon released Control—The Remixes, a collection of eight alternate versions of Jackson's hits.

Greater Success with Rhythm Nation

Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814, released in 1989, demonstrated even greater pop ambition. "Control was an album about what I went through in my life when I was 19 and the self-discovery that resulted," reads a quote in Jackson's Virgin Records biography. "Rhythm Nation contained my views about what was going on in the world and the problems we have in trying to educate the kids—the idea was to give them hope." Working again with Jam and Lewis, Jackson proved that Control's success was no accident. Rhythm Nation topped the American charts four weeks after its release, and produced a string of hits. The album's long-form video won a Grammy, and Jackson received her fair share of tributes. These included a Los Angeles "Janet Jackson Week," a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, a meeting with then-President George H.W. Bush, and an array of Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, and Soul Train Awards. BMI honored her as Songwriter of the Year in 1990.

For the Record …

Born on May 16, 1966, in Gary, IN; daughter of Joseph (a music manager) and Katherine (a home-maker and sales clerk) Jackson; married James DeBarge (a musician), September 1984; marriage annulled, 1985; married Rene Elizondo, 1991; divorced, 2000.

Actress on television series Good Times, Diff'rent Strokes, and Fame, beginning c. 1977; recording and performing artist, 1982-; released four albums on the A&M label, 1980s; signed with Virgin Records, 1991; released janet, 1993; resigned with Virgin in a four-album, $80 million deal, 1996; released The Velvet Rope, 1997; released All for You, 2001; has appeared in films;released 20 Y.O., 2006; signed with Island Records and released Discipline, 2008.

Awards: Voted Top R&B Artist, Top Pop Singles Artist Female, Top Dance Sales Artist, Top Dance Club Play Artist, and Top R&B Singles Artist by Billboard, magazine, all 1986; seven American Music Awards, 1987, 1990, and 1991; three Soul Train Awards, 1990; Sammy Davis Jr. Award, Entertainer of the Year, 1992; Grammy Award, Best Rhythm & Blues Song, for "That's the Way Love Goes," 1993; won Grammys for music videos, 1989, 1995, 1997; Billboard Artist Achievement Award, 2001; ASCAP Award, Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures for Poetic Justice, 1995; BMI Film & TV Awards, Most Performed Song from a Film, for Nutty Professor II, for the song "Doesn't Really Matter," 2001; American Music Award, Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist, 2002; Grammy Award, Best Dance Recording, for "All for You," 2002; Legend Award, Radio Music Awards, 2004; Humanitarian Award, the Human Rights Campaign, 2005; GLAAD Media Awards, Vanguard Award, 2008; NAACP Image Award, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, for Why Did I Get Married?, 2008.

Addresses: Record company—Island Records, 825 8th Ave., 24th Fl., New York, NY 10019, Web site: http://www.islandrecords.com. Web site—Janet Jackson Official Web site: http://www.janet-jackson.com.

Rhythm Nation 1814—the number refers to the year "The Star-Spangled Banner" was written—became the first album ever to have seven of its singles on the Billboard top five; four of those singles reached number one. Jackson's 1990 World Tour was an enormous success, and some of its profits helped the Cities in Schools program, which encourages students to stay in school. After the tour ended, she gave the United Negro College Fund a "Rhythm Nation Scholarship" to the tune of a half-million dollars.

New Contract, Family Woes

In 1991 Janet Jackson signed a huge recording contract with Virgin Records. The deal, at $50 million, stood as the most lucrative in history—for about a week, after which time it was surpassed by her brother Michael's new deal with Sony. Janet Jackson has admitted to a friendly rivalry with her brother, but her adoration of him is obvious in every interview she gives. It was he, she noted, who gave her the most important early encouragement when she began singing: "Michael told me to ‘just practice, always have confidence in yourself, and never give up,’" she recalled in Jet.

In 1992 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) gave Jackson its Chairman's Award for her public service work, especially on behalf of young people. As she addressed these larger issues, however, she found increasing public attention focused on conflicts within her family. Public acrimony between her sister LaToya, also a performer, and the rest of the Jackson clan gained considerable publicity, and Janet was forced to comment, admitting the rift; she later remarked that she found it impossible to communicate with her sister.

Meanwhile, she and Michael appeared together on the 1993 Grammy Awards, where he jokingly stated that their dual appearance put to rest rumors that they were the same person. Michael's own public troubles—especially public accusations that he had molested a young fan—placed even greater stress on the Jackson clan. During Janet's 1994 concert tour, Robert Christgau of the Village Voice reported that she asked the crowd to "bow our heads and say a silent prayer for my brother Michael."

Director John Singleton wrote the central role of his 1993 film Poetic Justice specifically for Jackson, but her much-hyped return to acting was something of a disappointment. The film fared poorly at the box office, and reviewers were less than kind to its star. "Jackson isn't an inept actress," said Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly, "yet there are no more edges to her personality than there are to her plastic Kewpie-doll visage." Yet this relatively unsuccessful detour hardly dented Jackson's meteoric career, and she appeared in Nutty Professor II with Eddie Murphy in 2000.

"Deeply Sexual" Persona

Jackson's 1993 album janet. announced her arrival as an adult pop figure, openly celebrating her sexuality. "I love feeling deeply sexual—and don't mind letting the world know," she told Ritz. "For me, sex has become a celebration, a joyful part of the creative process." She added that what "excites me isn't becoming a bigger star but a better artist, deeper, truer to the things I find exciting." The album's guest appearances by opera singer Kathleen Battle and rapper Chuck D. of the celebrated rap group Public Enemy attested to her expanded musical palette. The album earned five-times platinum sales in December of 1993.

Some critics considered Jackson at the top of her form with janet. Rolling Stone's year-end roundup of major releases found her in "more versatile voice than ever," adding that she "perches atop the rhythmic percolations—cool, not exactly calm, but collected." Yet while many applauded Jackson's newly bold persona, reviewers like Entertainment Weekly's David Browne felt she sounded "tentative" and found the album to be "a mess—period." Even so, it was enormously successful, as was her 1994 tour. Jackson also appeared on her brother Michael's 1995 single "Scream" and in its innovative video, which was nominated for several awards. A&M Records released a greatest hits collection, Design of a Decade: 1986-1996, in 1995, which earned multiplatinum sales in December of that year.

Lucrative Contract Renewal Deal

Jackson renewed her contract with Virgin Records in 1996 in a four-album, $80 million deal. The first album to follow was the multiplatinum-selling The Velvet Rope, released in 1997. According to Pamela Johnson of Essence magazine, on the album "[Jackson] speaks with her trademark candor to a range of topics: the unhealed wound that can be manifest in depression, an abused woman confronting her cruel lover, assorted childhood emotional traumas.…Grouped together, the subject matter sounds raw, grim. But as ususal, Jackson turns it into a funky good time."

Instead of her music, Jackson's personal life was the focus of attention in May of 2000. Rene Elizondo filed for divorce from Jackson, revealing that the couple had been secretly married since May of 1991. Though initially reported to be an amicable split, Elizondo sued Jackson for $10 million in January of 2001 over the validity of a prenuptial agreement.

Amid the personal turmoil surrounding the divorce, Jackson released All for You in 2001. The album reached multiplatinum sales in May of 2001, and the title track earned the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in 2002.

In 2004 Jackson released Damita Jo, but she was also embroiled in more controversy that year. During her halftime performance at Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, Texas, singer Justin Timberlake yanked off part of Jackson's outfit, exposing her breast. The duo intended to only expose Jackson's red bra. The furor over what publicists called a "wardrobe malfunction" prompted an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the television airwaves in the United States. Because Jackson initially did not apologize, she was asked not to appear at the Grammy Awards ceremony later that year. Further, Jackson was denied the lead role in a movie about legendary singer Lena Horne because of the incident. To date, Justin Timberlake has suffered no consequences for his part in the much-hyped media event.

Moved to Island Records

After a cooling off period with the media, the 40-year-old Jackson returned with the flirty and infectious album 20 Y.O. in 2006. Filled with self-referential allusions and smartly crafted songs, it prompted Andy Kellman of the All Music Guide to comment, "Janet's gang of assistants is on top of its game, and Janet herself has remembered that she doesn't have to be willfully explicit or eclectic to make a sexy and wholly enjoyable album." Despite positive reviews, 20 Y.O. fell off the charts after 15 weeks. Claiming the label did not adequately support the album, both Jackson and Jermaine Dupri, president of Virgin's urban music division and Jackson's rumored romantic partner, left the label for the Def Jam affiliated Island Records in 2008.

Jackson was a surprise hit in the 2007 film Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?, for which she won the NAACP Image Award for supporting actress in a motion picture. Meanwhile, her debut for Island, Discipline, hit number one on the pop, hip-hop, and European album charts. Rolling Stone reviewer Keith Harris, however, was not kind in his assessment. "On her Def Jam debut, the beats are as crass and processed as Jackson's heavy breathing, so she sounds more like a sex droid than a blow up doll - which is way hotter - for starters, sex droids show more initiative."

When sales of Discipline topped out near the 400,000 mark, Jackson once again found herself in dispute with her label, and canceled plans for a worldwide tour. Even though most artists have suffered a severe drop in record sales during the change from physical purchases to the download method of music gathering, Jackson's versatility and drive seem to ensure that she will remain a star for many years to come.

Selected discography

Janet Jackson, A&M, 1982.

Dream Street, A&M, 1984.

Control, A&M, 1986.

Control—The Remixes, A&M, 1987.

Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814, A&M, 1989.

janet., Virgin, 1993.

(Contributor) Ready-to-Wear (Pret-a-Porter), (soundtrack), Columbia, 1994.

(Contributor) Michael Jackson, HIStory, Volume 1: Past, Present, and Future, (appears on "Scream"), Epic, 1995.

Design of a Decade: 1986-1996, A&M, 1995.

The Velvet Rope, Virgin, 1997.

All for You, Virgin, 2001.

Damita Jo, Virgin, 2004.

20 Y.O., Virgin, 2006.

Design of a Decade: 1986-1996, A&M, 2007.

Discipline, Island, 2008.

Sources

Books

Rees, Dafydd, and Luke Crampton, Rock Movers & Shakers, ABC/CLIO, 1991.

Periodicals

Billboard, August 26, 1995, p. 97.

Entertainment Weekly, May 21, 1993, pp. 46-48; July 23, 1993, pp. 42-43; December 16, 1994, p. 64; June 9, 1995, p. 60; May 4, 2001, p. 36.

Essence, May 1998, p. 114.

Jet, August 8, 1994, pp. 53-59; February 12, 1996, p. 35; January 22, 2001, p. 34.

Rolling Stone, September 16, 1993, pp. 38-43, 82; December 23, 1993, p. 152; January 27, 1994, p. 25.

Village Voice, January 4, 1994, pp. 69-70.

Online

Billboard.com,http://www.billboard.com/bb/releases/week_1/index.jsp (April 1, 2004).

"Discipline review," Rolling Stone,http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/18311721/review/18328487/discipline (February 21, 2008).

E! Online, http://www.eonline.com (April 5, 2004).

"Janet Jackson," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (June 15, 2008).

"Janet Jackson," Internet Movie Database,, http://www.imdb.com (June 15, 2008).

Janet Jackson Official Web site, http://www.janet-jackson.com (June 15, 2008).

Recording Industry Association of America, http://www.riaa.com (March 28, 2002).

USAToday.com,http://www.usatoday.com/life/digest.htm (February 2, 2004).

USAToday.com,http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2004-10-26-rma-winners_x.htm (October 26, 2004).

Additional information for this profile was taken from Virgin Records publicity materials, 1994.

—Simon Glickman and Ken Burke

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Jackson, Janet." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Jackson, Janet." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-janet-3

"Jackson, Janet." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-janet-3

Jackson, Janet

Janet Jackson

Singer, songwriter

For the Record

Debut Album

Greater Success with Rhythm Nation

New Contract, Family Woes

Deeply Sexual Persona

Impressive Contract Renewal Deal

Selected discography

Sources

Pop music diva Janet Jackson has released seven solo albumsfive of which have earned multiplatinum salesand sold more than 40 million albums since 1982, cementing her place in music history and rivaling the success of older brother, Michael Jackson. Her contract with Virgin Records was renewed in 1996 in a four-album deal worth a then-unprecedented $80 million. Jackson continues to record, tour actively, and win awards for her work; she added a fifth Grammy Award to her collection in 2002 for Best Dance Recording for All for You from the album of the same name. Also an actress, Jackson appeared in the films Poetic Justice in 1993 and Nutty Professor II in 2000.

Having grown up in Americas most celebrated musical familyand notably in the shadow of her megastar brother, MichaelJackson has nonetheless demonstrated a willingness to veer at least briefly from the assured path of mainstream pop. My concepts are never bright ideas; theyre never notions I think will sell or be trendy or attract new fans, she insisted to Rolling Stones David Ritz. I dont think that way. All I can do is sing from my life. In addition to establishing herself as a fixture in the firmament of pop music, Jackson has also pursued an acting careerthough with decidedly mixed results.

Jackson was born in 1966 to Joseph and Katherine Jackson in Gary, Indiana, the youngest of nine children. When five of her brothersknown as the Jackson 5 and led by the charismatic Michaelachieved pop stardom in the early 1970s, the family moved to Encino, California, an affluent section of the San Fernando Valley. In the interview with Ritz, Jackson recalled her upbringing in the Jackson home there, with peacocks and llamas and giraffes in the back yard. When asked if she was lonely, she replied, At times, yes, but added, On certain days, I felt like the luckiest kid in the world. She called Hot Fun in the Summertime by soul-rock sensations Sly and the Family Stone one of the biggest musical influences of my life, noting, I was only 3 years old when that song had me jumping up and down. It made me so happy. Similarly, 1960s anthems by the Turtles, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Association are all precious moments to me. Theyre about just plain feeling good.

Jacksons debut stage appearance was in a Jackson 5 revue at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas; she was seven. Unlike her brothers, however, she made her way into the public eye through acting. At elevenafter capturing the attention of influential television producer Norman Learshe landed the role of the abused child Penny on the situation comedy Good Times. Parts on the series Diffrent Strokes and Fame followed, as Jackson grew up before the nations eyes. It was at the urging of her father that she ventured into music.

For the Record

Born on May 16, 1966, in Gary, IN; daughter of Joseph (a music manager) and Katherine Jackson (a homemaker and sales clerk); married James DeBarge (a musician), September 1984; marriage annulled, 1985; married Rene Elizondo, 1991; divorced, 2000.

Actress on television series Good Times, Different Strokes, and Fame, beginning c. 1977; recording and performing music artist, 1982-; released four albums on the A&M label, including Control and Rhythm Nation 1814, 1980s; signed with Virgin Records, 1991; released janet., 1993; resigned with Virgin in a four-album, $80 million deal, 1996; released The Velvet Rope, 1997; released AII for You, 2001; has appeared in films including Poetic Justice and Nutty Professor II.

Awards: Voted Top R&B Artist, Top Pop Singles Artist Female, Top Dance Sales Artist, Top Dance Club Play Artist, and Top R&B Singles Artist by Billboard magazine, all 1986; seven American Music Awards, 1987, 1990, and 1991; three Soul Train Awards, 1990; awarded star on Hollywood Walk of Fame as part of Janet Jackson Week, Los Angeles, 1990; Billboard Sterling Award, 1990; BMI Pop Award, Songwriter of the Year, 1990; MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video, 1991, 1994; NAACP Chairmans Award, 1992; Sammy Davis Jr. Award, Entertainer of the Year, 1992; Grammy Award, Best Rhythm & Blues Song for Thats the Way Love Goes, 1993; won Grammys for music videos, 1989, 1995, 1997; Billboard Artist Achievement Award, 2001; American Music Award, Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist, 2002; Grammy Award, Best Dance Recording for All for You, 2002.

Addresses: Record company Virgin Records, 9247 Alden Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. AgentCreative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. WebsiteJanet Jackson Official Website: http://www.janet-jackson.com.

Debut Album

Her solo recording debut came with Janet Jackson, which A&M Records released in 1982. Although the albums highest-charting single failed to reach the top 40, the young singer established her own tradition by touring high schools to promote it. She shocked the Jackson clan in the summer of 1984, however, when she eloped with singer James DeBarge. The couple contacted the family from Michigan to announce theyd married, though the wedding was annulled the following spring and Jackson ended up returning to her familys home in Encino. After the annulment, she was comforted by longtime friend Rene Elizondo, with whom she would later develop a romantic relationship.

November of 1984 saw the release of Jacksons sophomore effort, Dream Street. Despite the participation of producers Giorgio Moroder and Jesse Johnson and a duet with pop legend Cliff Richard, the record didnt exactly set the charts ablaze. I didnt quite know how to sing from my life, she told Ritz. Though it was painful, she told her father she didnt want him to manage her any longer: I couldnt say the wordsI was bawling like a babyand finally he just said: You dont want me involved in your career. Isnt that it? Yes, I finally had the nerve to say, thats it.

With her 1986 release, Control, Jackson at last gave an indication of her potential. The project teamed her with hot R&B producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who cowrote much of the material. Sales of the album surged after the release of the single What Have You Done for Me Lately, which moved to the top of the R&B chart. It eventually reached the peak spot on the album chart and achieved platinum status five times over. The 20-year-old Jackson became the youngest artist to reach the number one position on the American charts since Stevie Wonder reached it at age 13. Jackson performed at the 1987 Grammy Awards but didnt take home any trophies. She did, however, win an armload of American Music Awards and came up the favorite in several categories of Billboard magazines 1986 yearend survey. A&M soon released ControlThe Re-mixes, a collection of eight alternate versions of Jacksons hits.

Greater Success with Rhythm Nation

Janet Jacksons Rhythm Nation 1814, released in 1989, demonstrated even greater pop ambition. Confro/was an album about what I went through in my life when I was 19 and the self-discovery that resulted, reads a quote in a Virgin Records biography. Rhythm Nation contained my views about what was going on in the world and the problems we have in trying to educate the kidsthe idea was to give them hope. Working again with Jam and Lewis, Jackson proved that Controls success was no accident. Rhythm Nation topped the American charts four weeks after its release and produced a string of hits. The albums long-form video won a Grammy, and Jackson received her fair share of tributes. These included a Los Angeles Janet Jackson Week, a star on Hollywoods Walk of Fame a meeting with then-President George Bush, and an array of Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, and Soul Train Awards. BMI honored her as Songwriter of the Year in 1990.

Rhythm Nation 1814 the number refers to the year The Star-Spangled Banner was writtenbecame the first album ever to have seven of its singles on the Billboard top five; four of those singles reached number one. Jacksons 1990 World Tour was an enormous success, and some of its profits helped the Cities in Schools program, which encourages students to stay in school. After the tour ended, she gave the United Negro College Fund a Rhythm Nation Scholarship to the tune of a half-million dollars.

New Contract, Family Woes

In 1991 Janet Jackson signed a huge recording contract with Virgin Records. A Rembrandt rarely becomes available, went a quote from Virgin head Richard Branson cited in Rock Movers & Shakers. When it does, there are many people determined to get it. I was determined. The deal, at $50 million, stood as the most lucrative in historyfor about a week, after which time it was surpassed by her brother Michaels new deal with Sony. Janet Jackson has admitted to a friendly rivalry with her brother, but her adoration of him is obvious in every interview she gives. It was he, she noted, who gave her the most important early encouragement when she began singing: Michael told me to just practice, always have confidence in yourself, and never give up, she recalled in Jet

In 1992 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) gave Jackson its Chairmans Award for her public service work, especially on behalf of young people. As she addressed these large issues, however, she found increasing public attention focused on conflicts within her family. Public acrimony between her sister LaToyaalso a performerand the rest of the Jackson clan gained considerable publicity, and Janet was forced to comment, admitting the rift; she later remarked that she found it impossible to communicate with her sister.

Meanwhile, she and Michael appeared together on the 1993 Grammy Awards, where he jokingly stated that their dual appearance put to rest rumors that they were the same person. Michaels own public troublesespecially public accusations that he had molested a young fanplaced even greater stress on the Jackson clan. During Janets 1994 concert tour, reported Robert Christgau in the Village Voice, she asked the crowd to bow our heads and say a silent prayer for my brother Michael.

Director John Singleton wrote the central role of his 1993 film Poetic Justice specifically for Jackson, but her much-hyped return to acting was something of a disappointment. The film fared poorly at the box office, and reviewers were less than kind to its star. Jackson isnt an inept actress, reasoned Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly, yet there are no more edges to her personality than there are to her plastic Kewpie-doll visage. Yet this relatively unsuccessful detour hardly dented Jacksons meteoric career. She appeared in Nutty Professor II with Eddie Murphy in 2000.

Deeply Sexual Persona

Jacksons 1993 album janet. announced her arrival as an adult pop figure, openly celebrating her sexuality. I love feeling deeply sexualand dont mind letting the world know, she told Ritz in the Rolling Stone profile. For me, sex has become a celebration, a joyful part of the creative process. She added that what excites me isnt becoming a bigger star but a better artist, deeper, truer to the things I find exciting. The albums guest appearances by opera singer Kathleen Battle and rapper Chuck D. of the celebrated rap group Public Enemy attested to her expanded musical palette. The album earned five-times platinum sales in December of 1993.

Some critics considered Jackson at the top of her form with janet. Rolling Stones year-end roundup of major releases found her in more versatile voice than ever, adding that she perches atop the rhythmic percolationscool, not exactly calm, but collected. Yet while many applauded Jacksons newly bold persona, reviewers like Entertainment Weeklys David Browne felt she sounded tentative and found the album a messperiod. Even so, it was enormously successful, as was her 1994 tour. Ive never seen an arena spectacle to match it, enthused Village Voice writer Christgau. Rolling Stone criticized its almost mechanical perfection, noting that sometimes it seemed like the audience was eavesdropping on a shoot for a long-form video rather than being engaged by a performer. Jackson also appeared on her brother Michaels 1995 single Scream and in its innovative video, which was nominated for several awards. Entertainment Weekly complained that her voice was buried deep in the [songs] mixtoo bad, since her swe croon adds what little swing the record has. A&M Records released a greatest hits collection, Design of a Decade: 1986-1996, in 1995, which earned multiplatinum sales in December of that year.

Impressive Contract Renewal Deal

Jackson renewed her contract with Virgin Records in 1996 in a four-album, $80 million deal. The first album to follow was the multiplatinum-selling The Velvet Rope, released in 1997. According to Pamela Johnson of Essence magazine, on the album [Jackson] speaks with her trademark candor to a range of topics: the unhealed wound that can be manifest in depression, and abused woman confronting her cruel lover, assorted childhood emotional traumas. Grouped together, the subject matter sounds raw, grim. But as ususal, Jackson turns it into a funky good time.

Instead of her music, Jacksons personal life was the focus of attention in May of 2000. Rene Elizondo filed for divorce from Jackson, revealing that the couple had been secretly married since May of 1991. Though initially reported to be an amicable split, Elizondo sued Jackson for $10 million in January of 2001 over the validity of a prenuptial agreement.

Amid the personal turmoil surrounding the divorce, Jackson released All for You in 2001. Jackson told Jeff Gordinier of Entertainment Weekly that the album was very up. Gordinier agreed: There are twinkly disco romps and thumping grooves and cooing effusions of erotic esctasy. The album reached multiplatinum sales in May of 2001, and the title track earned the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in 2002.

Selected discography

Janet Jackson, A&M, 1982.

Dream Street, A&M, 1984.

Control, A&M, 1986.

ControlThe Remixes, A&M, 1987.

Janet Jacksons Rhythm Nation 1814, A&M, 1989.

Janet, Virgin, 1993.

(Contributor) Ready-to-Wear (Pret-a-Porter) (soundtrack), Columbia, 1994.

(Contributor) Michael Jackson, History, Volume 1: Past, Present, and Future (appears on Scream), Epic, 1995.

Design of a Decade: 1986-1996, A&M, 1995.

The Velvet Rope, Virgin, 1997.

All for You, Virgin, 2001.

Sources

Books

Rees, Dafydd, and Luke Crampton, Rock Movers & Shakers, ABC/CLIO, 1991.

Periodicals

Billboard, August 26, 1995, p. 97.

Entertainment Weekly, May 21, 1993, pp. 46-48; July 23, 1993, pp. 42-43; December 16, 1994, p. 64; June 9, 1995, p. 60; May 4, 2001, p. 36.

Essence, May 1998, p. 114.

Jet, August 8, 1994, pp. 53-59; February 12, 1996, p. 35; January 22, 2001, p. 34.

Rolling Stone, September 16, 1993, pp. 38-43, 82; December 23, 1993, p. 152; January 27, 1994, p. 25.

Village Voice, January 4, 1994, pp. 69-70.

Online

Janet Jackson, All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (March 28, 2002).

Janet Jackson Official Website, http://www.janet-jackson.com (March 28, 2002).

Recording Industry Association of America, http://www.riaa.com (March 28, 2002).

Additional information for this profile was taken from Virgin Records publicity materials, 1994.

Simon Glickman

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Jackson, Janet." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Jackson, Janet." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-janet-0

"Jackson, Janet." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-janet-0

Jackson, Janet

Janet Jackson

Singer, songwriter

For the Record

A Desire For Control

Greater Success with Rhythm Nation

Celebrated Sexuality

Selected discography

Sources

Rolling Stone praised Janet Jacksons 1993 album janet as irrefutably the work of a woman of substance. With that releasewhich the magazine dubbed her erotic rite of passage the singer sought to shed the girlish, cutesy image with which she had been saddled throughout her career; she also demonstrated a longing to stretch out artistically.

Having grown up in Americas most celebrated musical familyand notably in the shadow of her megastar brother, MichaelJackson has nonetheless demonstrated a willingness to veer at least briefly from the assured path of mainstream pop. My concepts are never bright ideas; theyre never notions I think will sell or be trendy or attract new fans, she insisted to Rolling Stones David Ritz. I dont think that way. All I can do is sing from my life. In addition to establishing herself as a fixture in the firmament of pop music, Jackson has also pursued an acting careerthough with decidedly mixed results.

Jackson was born in 1966 to Joseph and Katherine Jackson in Gary, Indiana, the youngest of nine children. When five of her brothersknown as the Jackson 5 and led by the charismatic Michaelachieved pop stardom in the early 1970s, the family moved to Encino, California, an affluent section of the San Fernando Valley. I n the interview with Ritz, Jackson recalled her upbringing in the Jackson home there, with peacocks and llamas and giraffes in the back yard. When asked if she was lonely, she replied, At times, yes, but added, On certain days, I felt like the luckiest kid in the world. She called Hot Fun in the Summertime by soul-rock sensations Sly and the Family Stone one of the biggest musical influences of my life, noting, I was only 3 years old when that song had me jumping up and down. It made me so happy. Similarly, 1960s anthems by the Turtles, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Association are all precious moments to me. Theyre about just plain feeling good.

Jacksons debut stage appearance was in a Jackson 5 revue at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas; she was seven. Unlike her brothers, however, she made her way into the public eye through acting. At 11after capturing the attention of influential television producer Norman Learshe landed the role of the abused child Penny on the situation comedy Good Times. Parts on the series Diffrent Strokes and Famefollowed, as Janet Jackson grew up before the nations eyes. It was at the urging of her father that she ventured into music.

Her solo recording debut came with Janet Jackson, which A&M Records released in 1982. Although the albums highest-charting single failed to reach the Top Forty, the young singer established her own tradition by

For the Record

Born May 16, 1966, in Gary, IN; daughter of Joseph (a music manager) and Katherine (a homemaker and sales clerk) Jackson; married James DeBarge (a musician), September 1984 (marriage annulled, 1985).

Actress on TV series Good Times, Diffrent Strokes, and Fame, beginning c. 1977; recording and performing music artist, 1982; signed with Virgin Records, 1991; coproducer of own album janet, 1993; actress in film Poetic Justice, 1993; performed at several Grammy Award shows and at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards.

Selected awards: Platinum records for Control, 1986, Rhythm Nation 1814, 1989, and janet, 1993. Voted top R&B artist, top pop singles artist female, top dance sales artist, top dance club play artist, and top R&B singles artist, all 1986, by Billboard; seven American Music Awards, 1987, 1990, and 1991; Grammy Award for best music video (long form), 1990; three Soul Train Awards, 1990; awarded star on Hollywood Walk of Fame as part of Janet Jackson Week, Los Angeles, 1990; Billboard Sterling Award, 1990; 1990 BMI Pop Award for songwriter of the year; MTV Video Music Award for best female video, 1991 and 1994; NAACP Chairmans Award, 1992; Sammy Davis Jr. Award for Entertainer of the Year, 1992.

Addresses: Record company Virgin Records, 338 N. Foothill Rd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Management Levine/Schneider Public Relations, 8730 Sunset Blvd., 6th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

touring high schools to promote it. She shocked the Jackson clan in the summer of 1984, however, when she eloped with singer James DeBarge. The couple contacted the family from Michigan to announce theyd married, though the wedding was annulled the following spring and Jackson ended up returning to her familys home in Encino. After the annulment, she was comforted by longtime friend Rene Elizondo, with whom she would later develop a romantic relationship.

A Desire For Control

November of 1984 saw the release of Jacksons sophomore effort, Dream Street. Despite the participation of producers Giorgio Moroder and Jesse Johnson and a duet with pop legend Cliff Richard, the record didnt exactly set the charts ablaze. I didnt quite know how to sing from my life, she told Ritz. Though it was painful, she told her father she didnt want him to manage her any longer: I couldnt say the wordsI was bawling like a babyand finally he just said:You dont want me involved in your career. Isnt that it? Yes, I finally had the nerve to say,thats it.

With her 1986 release, Control, Jackson at last gave an indication of her potential. The project teamed her with hot R&B producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who cowrote much of the material. Sales of the album surged after the release of the single What Have You Done for Me Lately, which moved to the top of the R&B chart. It eventually reached the peak spot on the album chart and achieved platinum status. The twenty-year-old Jackson became the youngest artist to reach the U.S. Number One position since Stevie Wonder reached it at age thirteen.

Control went on to sell eight million copies. Jackson performed at the 1987 Grammy Awards but didnt take home any trophies. She did, however, win an armload of American Music Awards and came up the favorite in several categories of Billboard magazines 1986 year-end survey. A&M soon released Control The Remixes, a collection of eight alternate versions of Jacksons hits.

Greater Success with Rhythm Nation

Janet Jacksons Rhythm Nation 1814, released in 1989, demonstrated even greater pop ambition. Controlwas an album about what I went through in my life when I was 19 and the self-discovery that resulted, reads a quote in a Virgin Records biography. Rhythm Nation contained my views about what was going on in the world and the problems we have in trying to educate the kidsthe idea was to give them hope. Working again with Jam and Lewis, Jackson proved that Controls success was no accident. Rhythm Nation topped the U.S. charts four weeks after its release and produced a string of hits. The albums long-form video won a Grammy, and Jackson received her fair share of tributes. These included a Los Angeles Janet Jackson Week, a star on Hollywoods Walk of Fame, a meeting with then-President George Bush, and an array of Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, and SoulTrain Awards. BMI honored her as songwriter of the year in 1990.

Rhythm Nation 1814 the number refers to the year The Star-Spangled Banner was writtenbecame the first album ever to have seven of its singles on the Billboard Top Five; four of those singles reached Number One. Jacksons 1990 World Tour was an enormous success, and some of its profits helped the Cities in Schools program, which encourages students to stay in school. After the tour ended, she gave the United Negro College Fund a Rhythm Nation Scholarship to the tune of a half-million dollars.

In 1991 Janet Jackson signed a huge recording contract with Virgin Records. A Rembrandt rarely becomes available, went a quote from Virgin head Richard Branson cited in Rock Movers & Shakers. When it does, there are many people determined to get it. I was determined. The deal, at $50 million, stood as the most lucrative in historyfor about a week, after which time it was surpassed by her brother Michaels new deal with Sony. Janet Jackson has admitted to a friendly rivalry with her brother, but her adoration of him is obvious in every interview she gives. It was he, she noted, who gave her the most important early encouragement when she began singing: Michael told me tojust practice, always have confidence in yourself, and never give up, she recalled in Jet.

In 1992 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) gave Jackson its Chairmans Award for her public service work, especially on behalf of young people. As she addressed these large issues, however, she found increasing public attention focused on conflicts within her family. Public acrimony between her sister LaToyaalso a performerand the rest of the Jackson clan gained considerable publicity, and Janet was forced to comment, admitting the rift; she later remarked that she found it impossible to communicate with her sister.

Meanwhile, she and Michael appeared together on the 1993 Grammy Awards, where he jokingly stated that their dual appearance put to rest rumors that they were the same person. Michaels own public troublesespecially public accusations that he had molested a young fan-placed even greater stress on the Jackson clan. During Janets 1994 concert tour, reported Robert Christgau in the Village Voice, she asked the crowd to bow our heads and say a silent prayer for my brother Michael. Director John Singleton wrote the central role of his 1993 film Poetic Justice specifically for Jackson, but her much-hyped return to acting was something of a disappointment. The film fared poorly at the box office, and reviewers were less than kind to its star. Jackson isnt an inept actress, reasoned Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly, yet there are no more edges to her personality than there are to her plastic Kewpie-doll visage. Yet this relatively unsuccessful detour hardly dented Jacksons meteoric career.

Celebrated Sexuality

Jacksons 1993 album janet. announced her arrival as an adult pop figure, openly celebrating her sexuality. I love feeling deeply sexualand dont mind letting the world know, she told Ritz in the Rolling Stone profile. For me, sex has become a celebration, a joyful part of the creative process. She added that what excites me isnt becoming a bigger star but a better artist, deeper, truer to the things I find exciting. The albums guest appearances by opera singer Kathleen Battle and rapper Chuck D. of the celebrated rap group Public Enemy attested to her expanded musical palette.

Some critics considered Jackson at the top of her form with Janef. Rolling Stones year-end roundup of major releases found her in more versatile voice than ever, adding that she perches atop the rhythmic percolationscool, not exactly calm, but collected. Yet while many applauded Jacksons newly bold persona, reviewers like Entertainment Weeklys David Browne felt she sounded tentative and found the album a messperiod. Even so, it was enormously successful, as was her 1994 tour. Ive never seen an arena spectacle to match it, enthused Village Voice writer Christgau. Rolling Stone criticized its almost mechanical perfection, noting that sometimes it seemed like the audience was eavesdropping on a shoot for a long-form video rather than being engaged by a performer.

Jackson contributed a song to the soundtrack of the 1994 fashion industry flick Ready-to-Wear (Pret-a-Por-ter). She also appeared on her brother Michaels 1995 single Scream and in its innovative video, which was nominated for several awards. Entertainment Weekly complained that her voice was buried deep in the [songs] mixtoo bad, since her sweet croon adds what little swing the record has.

Later that year Jacksons former label, A&M, released a greatest-hits package which featured selections from Control, Rhythm Nation 1814, her Virgin release, janet, and two new singles, including Runaway. Entitled Design Of A Decade 1986-1996, an accompanying home video and laserdisc were also released. At this time there was much speculation that Jackson would return to A&M, or perhaps make a move to another label. All theories were silenced, however, when at the beginning of 1996, Jackson signed a four-album, $80 million deal with Virgin, ensuring future decades of Janet Jackson hits.

Selected discography

Janet Jackson, A&M, 1982.

Dream Street, A&M, 1984.

Control, A&M, 1986.

ControlThe Remixes, A&M, 1987.

(Contributor) Herb Alpert, Diamonds, 1987.

Janet Jacksons Rhythm Nation 1814, A&M, 1989.

janet, Virgin, 1993.

Various artists, Ready-to-Wear (Pret-a-Porter) (soundtrack;appears on 70s Love Groove), Columbia, 1994.

Michael Jackson, History, Volume 1: Past, Present, and Future (appears on Scream), Epic, 1995.

Design Of A Decade, A&M, 1995.

Sources

Books

Rees, Dafydd, and Luke Crampton, Rock Movers & Shakers, ABC/CLIO, 1991.

Periodicals

Billboard, August 26, 1995; September 2, 1995.

Entertainment Weekly, May 21, 1993; July 23, 1993; December 16, 1994; June 9, 1995; January 26, 1996.

Jet, August 8, 1994.

Rolling Stone, September 16, 1993; December 23, 1993; January 27, 1994.

Village Voice, January 4, 1994.

Additional information for this profile was taken from Virgin Records publicity materials, 1994.

Simon Glickman

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Jackson, Janet." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Jackson, Janet." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-janet

"Jackson, Janet." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-janet

Jackson, Janet

JANET JACKSON

Born: Janet Damita Jackson; Gary, Indiana, 16 May 1966

Genre: R&B, Pop

Best-selling album since 1990: The Velvet Rope (1997)

Hit songs since 1990: "Love Will Never Do (without You)," "When I Think of You," "That's the Way Love Goes"


Janet Jackson comes from one of the most famous families in pop history. She was the eighth member of the Jackson family to produce records and gain superstar status. Her father, Joseph Jackson, managed the careers of all his children. By the early 1960s the Jackson childrenTito, Jermaine, and Jackiehad started performing around Gary, Indiana, and were known as the Jackson family. In 1964, when Marlon and Michael joined the troupe, they became known as the Jackson 5.

The youngest of the nine Jackson children, Janet made her first performance appearance at seven years of age in Los Angeles with her brothers. By 1982 with Michael's success soaring, Joseph turned his attention to La Toya's and Janet's first albums. In 1982 Janet signed a contract with A&M Records and released her first album, Janet Jackson, which was not a huge success. This effort was followed two years later by a second album, Dream Street, which did not sell that well either. It was only in 1986, when she insisted on artistic independence from her father, that her first major breakthrough came with the release of the album Control, which sold more than 4 million copies in the Unites States alone. The songs on this album were better crafted than those on the previous two albums, with a shift in style to a more contemporary dance-pop and funk feel. This blend appealed instantly to a generation on the brink of the house movement scene. With this album also came a change of attitude and image, as Jackson traded her "nice girl" image for a more aggressive role, dressing in black and leather and singing about control over her boyfriends. Hit singles from this album include "What Have You Done for Me Lately," "Nasty," "When I Think of You," "Control," and "Let's Wait Awhile."

Another quadruple platinum album followed in 1989, Rhythm Nation 1814. In contrast to the songs from Control, those from this album are brighter, with a more romantic pull and evidence of social and political awareness. The poignant track "Living in a World (They Didn't Make)" addresses the issue of suffering and the exposure of children to violence. Musically, the sentiments of this song are extracted through a vocal style that draws on thin tones and restricted register control. In contrast the influence of Prince is evident in the more raucous, funk-derived tracks, such as "Miss You Much" and "Alright," in which Jackson pulls together all her vocal forces to deliver a brashly energetic, celebratory, and stylish performance. The success of this dance album, with its blend of social-protest songs and heart-rending ballads, helped secure Jackson a position on par with Madonna as she went on her Rhythm of the Nation tour in 1990.

In 1991 Jackson left the A&M label and signed a historic two-album deal with Virgin for a reported $50 million. In one of the biggest promotional campaigns ever, Jackson's first album for Virgin, Janet (1993), was ushered in by a full revamp of her image. On a provocative Rolling Stone cover inspired by the album, Jackson appears topless, with her breasts covered by a pair of hands. The sexiness and erotic quality of this cover is reflected in the songs on the album, the most famous one being "That's the Way Love Goes," a grinding sexual number that remained at the top of the charts for eight weeks. The groove of this song is hypnotic and slow, transporting Jackson's vocal sentiments in a melodic phrase that is easy to remember. The song's strength lies in both its performance and production, which is slick, glossy, and sophisticated for its time. There is a wealth of stylistic changes from one track to the next, as Jackson includes everything from dance-based material to funk, jazz, and big-band swing. In a rendition of Lionel Hampton's "I'm in the Mood for Swing" from 1938, Jackson demonstrates her high quality of musicianship by delivering a convincingly zappy performance.

In 1996 A&M released a compilation album of Jackson's years with them, Design of the Decade, 19861996. This followed a collaboration with her brother, Michael, on the hit single "Scream," which was released together with a hi-tech, space-age promo video in 1995. This video was rumored to be the most costly ever produced.

In 1996 Jackson suffered a nervous breakdown with severe bouts of depression. This setback preceded the release of her next album, The Velvet Rope (1997), which consists of twenty-two songs with a running time of over seventy minutes. Themes of sexual yearning and self-discovery pervade the album, reflecting the influence of Madonna. Often the songs deal explicitly with themes of perversity, sexual difference (bisexuality, gay, lesbian, transsexual), and fetishism (body piercing and bondage) as Jackson attempts to push forward the boundaries of sexual tolerance. One song that stands out in this respect is her arrangement of Rod Stewart's "Tonight's the Night," to which she imparts a lesbian inflection. The singing style on this album builds on that of her earlier album, Janet, with a polished, innovative, and reflective performance. The collection of songs is a reminder of Jackson's talent for combining a diverse range of traditions within African-American popular music; her delivery of compelling dance grooves is both seductive and playful.

In 1999 Jackson went on another international tour and hit the pop charts again with the Busta Rhymes's hit "What's It Gonna Be?!" Over seventy minutes in duration, her next album, All for You (2001), consists of a collection of sensual tracks that are less overtly erotic than those on The Velvet Rope. The songs, mostly bittersweet in flavor, are confidently performed and stylishly arranged. The album employs sampling of artists whom Jackson admires. On the track "Sun of a Gun," for example, she samples Carly Simon's hit "You're So Vain" in a manner that blends rock with rap into her groove-based musical material. The two main hits from this album were the title track and "Someone to Call My Lover," which helped pave the way for the collection's enormous success worldwide.

Despite the album's success, Jackson's stature had dimmed somewhat by the end of the 1990s. She was unable to sustain the superstardom she had achieved earlier in her career. Sexy, provocative, and soulful in her performance style, Jackson was one of the leading pop divas of the 1990s. She is a magnetic star whose career trajectory was a testament to her family's standing as one of the most legendary and commercially successful generators of African-American pop music.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Janet Jackson (A&M, 1982); Dream Street (A&M, 1984); Control (A&M, 1986); Rhythm Nation 1814 (A&M, 1989); Janet (Virgin, 1993); The Velvet Rope (Virgin, 1997); All for You (Virgin, 2001).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

D. L. Mabery, Janet Jackson (Minneapolis, 1992); B. Andres and H. R. Taborelli, Out of the Madness: The Strictly Unauthorised Biography of Janet Jackson (London, 1994); C. Dyson, Janet Jackson (Philadelphia, 2000); K. Garcia, Janet Jackson (Real Life Reader Biography) (Bear, DE, 2003).

stan hawkins

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Jackson, Janet." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Jackson, Janet." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jackson-janet

"Jackson, Janet." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jackson-janet

Jackson, Janet

Janet Jackson

Singer

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Janet Jackson stepped out from the shadow of her famous musical brothers, including superstar Michael Jackson, with the release of her 1986 album, Control. Though she had recorded two albums previously, and acted in several television series, she was primarily regarded as Michaels baby sister until her two hits, What Have You Done for Me Lately and Nasty, began vanishing from record stores, propelling Control to the top of Billboards album charts. Proving that she was no fluke, Jackson handily followed her 1986 success with the critically acclaimed 1989 album Rhythm Nation 1814, which featured the popular Miss You Much.

Born in the mid-1960s in Gary, Indiana, Janet was the last of Joseph and Katherine Jacksons nine children. By the time she was four, five of her brothers had risen to nationwide fame as the Jackson Five; eventually this fame led to the familys move to a suburb of Los Angeles, California. According to Aldore Collier in Ebony, Janets childhood desire to become a horse-racing jockey was quickly pushed to the side after her father heard her voice on tape. But singing was not the first avenue that brought her to the attention of audiences. When Janet was nine, a television appearance on one of her brothers variety specials led to producer Norman Lears recruiting her for his situation comedy, Good Times. On the show she played Penny, an abused child adopted by one of the regular characters. Later Janet portrayed Charlene, the girlfriend of Willis on Diff rent Strokes. And in her late teens, she joined the cast of the syndicated television series Fame. As Collier phrased it, Janet grew up before the television-viewing public, almost like a slowly blooming rose.

Meanwhile, Janet Jackson also released two albums. But they were both, in the words of People reporter Suzanne Stevens, coolly received. . .co-produced by the Jackson family machine and aimed at the bubble gum set. Jackson made the first break from her wholesome, teen-idol image in 1984, however, when she surprised her family by eloping with James DeBarge. A member of another family singing group, DeBarge had been a friend of Janet since she was ten years old. Nevertheless, the marriage ended in less than a year. Speculations as to the cause of the breakup included Jacksons youth, but she told Collier: That had nothing to do with it. Stevens claimed that after eight months of hounding, John McClain, an executive at A&M Records, persuaded [Janet] to annul the pact for fear the marriage would hurt her career. Jackson blamed the heavy demands of both her and her spouses work. She confided to Collier: It was really hard and it just couldnt go on that way. You have to really have that free time together.

For the Record

Born c 1966, in Gary, Ind.; daughter of Joseph (a music manager and former crane operator) and Katherine (Corse) Jackson (a homemaker and sales clerk); married James DeBarge, September 1984, (annulled, 1985).

Actress in television programs, including Good Times, Diff rent Strokes, and Fame, beginning c 1975; recording artist and concert performer since adolescence.

Awards: Two platinum albums.

Addresses: Home 4641 Hayvenhurst Ave., Encino, Calif. 91436. Record companyASM Records, 1416 N. La Brea, Los Angeles, Calif. 90028.

Shortly after she left DeBarge, Jackson began work on Control. According to Stevens, the new image that permeates the album and the accompanying videos was a lot of work: McClain put Janet on a diet, sent her to voice and dance coaches for three months and shipped her to Minneapolis to record under the tutelage of [singer/songwriter] Prince proteges Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The result, however, was worth it. In addition to quickly selling a million copies, Control was labeled a better album than Diana Ross has made in five years by Rolling Stone reviewer Rob Hoerburger. Though People reviewer Ralph Novak complained of what he perceived as the albums over-instrumentation, he did comment that Jackson can sing with such sweet clarity that its a puzzle why anyone would insist on burying her. He also concluded that she was clearly making a strident declaration of independence with Control.

That declaration, however, did not prevent Jackson from moving back to the family home after her marriage ended. She told Collier that she enjoys early morning conversations with her brother Michael, and shares his enthusiasm for exotic pets. Collier also cited Janets close relationship with her mother as a benefit of this living arrangement, despite Katherine Jacksons misgivings about her daughters sexier image. One of Controls songs in particular, Funny How Time Flies provoked Mrs. Jackson to remark: I dont like that moaning at the end. I dont like it when my baby does that, according to Collier.

Though it is difficult to measure up to an album as successful as Control, Jackson appears to have done so with her fourth effort, Rhythm Nation 1814. In addition to selling well, Rhythm Nation was given an excellent rating by critic Vince Aletti of Rolling Stone. The disc is a concept album that takes on the issues of illiteracy, prejudice, homelessness, and other social problems interspersed with dance tunes; Jacksons music and themes on Rhythm Nation have evoked comparisons with Sly and the Family Stone and the late Marvin Gaye. Aletti praised the records simplicity and directness and concluded that nothing sounds slight, and everything clicks.

Selected discography

Solo LPs

Control (includes Control, Nasty, What Have You Done for Me Lately, Lets Wait a While, and Funny How Time Flies), A&M, 1986.

Rhythm Nation 1814 (includes Miss You Much, Livin in a World, and Someday Is Tonight), A&M, 1989.

Also released Dream Street and Janet Jackson.

Sources

Ebony, September 1986.

Newsweek, July 21, 1986.

People, March 24, 1986; July 7, 1986.

Rolling Stone, April 24, 1986; October 19, 1989.

Elizabeth Thomas

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Jackson, Janet." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Jackson, Janet." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-janet-1

"Jackson, Janet." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jackson-janet-1