i remember sitting with my auntie gie watching “the pleasure principle” and listening to my auntie tell me all the ways that janet jackson was already iconic. that was in 1991. with a career spanning over 40 years in the business, janet jackson is the first to be added to my icon league. this series will spotlight and recognize women in music for their contributions to music, style and culture. with no need for introduction, janet is from the royal family of entertainment, the jacksons. throughout her iconic reign, she has dominated areas of dance, performance and style. representing black women with an unabashed approach to independence, and sexual dominance- there is no other like janet.
janet joins my icon league with 11 albums, 5 major motion picture roles, 2 television show roles, 7 world tours and 51 music videos. through her albums, janet became the voice for women looking to break free from restriction, demanding more control in their relationships both professional and personal. demanding respect and individualization in her career, she successfully created her own lane- striking a balance between her and her famous brothers. she became an industry leader in the process, creating a blueprint for what female artists in the pop genre were expected to do. janet’s influence created the pathway which pioneered the careers of madonna, britney spears and beyoncé. this influence trickled to create and influence other artists like lil’ kim, ciara and rihanna. many of these women have utilized sex appeal, high powered choreography and a feminist dialogue to alter the ways in which females are seen in music and media. involvement with janet has also spurred success for celebrities like choreographer tina landon, jennifer lopez who danced with janet before her success as an actor and entrepreneur. janet also worked with paula abduhl before she had her run of mainstream success and appeal in the 1990’s.
criminally underrated for this pathway of influence, and a third tier level, janet jackson’s influence touches every other artist that has come and gone in the industry. image industries have followed her lead of sex appeal, and her transformation and growth as a women, chronicled through each era and album over the course of her life have championed trends of beauty, body and sound. within her career span, she has introduced aspects of military inspired dance formations, has further advanced the pro-black musical dialogue in which leads all of the music industry. unapologetically, at the ripe age of 50 years old, janet jackson is a living legend and the full crux of her relevance and emblematic stance as a powerful woman in music cannot be summed in so many words.
wishing a happy birthday to janet,
we thank you for all you’ve done for culture
celebrating your life and legacy always