Never underestimate Janet Jackson! Maya Angelou once said of Janet, “It may be her overall consummate artistry as singer, as songwriter, as composer, as actress, as dancer, as choreographer, and as trendsetter that she literally defies one particular way of introducing her.” In other words, forget triple threat. She’s a rare septuple threat – a national treasure who has sold 140 million records worldwide!
Fans have waited seven long years for a new album from Ms. Jackson, but they won’t be waiting much longer. Janet sent social media into a frenzy when she announced her comeback via a short video voice message in May. Her soft Jackson-esque voice can be heard over light music simply stating, “I promised you’d hear it from my lips, and now you will. This year – new music, new world tour, a new movement. I’ve been listening. Let’s keep the conversation going.” Drop the mic! She’s baaacccckkkk!
Here are FIVE Reasons Janet Jackson is the Ultimate ICON:
- Déjà vu – Janet Taught Them: You know you’re an icon when your influence can be seen in the work of other relevant artists. Watch live performances of Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Ciara, Lady Gaga, and even Jennifer Lopez, and you will see and feel Janet’s presence. Imitation is indeed the highest form of flattery.
- Shot Caller: She was the first female artist to defiantly proclaim that her first name ain’t Baby. It’s Janet! That bossed up lyric from her mega hit, “Nasty”, put guys on notice and let the world know Janet was a woman in complete control. Throughout her career, she’s charmed us with her hint of tomboy mystique while embracing her femininity and unapologetically exploring her sexuality. We watched her evolve in the 80’s from singing about young love and abstinence in “Let’s Wait Awhile” to boldly declaring “Any Time, Any Place” in the 90’s. Either way, Janet was calling the shots and letting women know it was okay to do the same.
- Trailblazer: Janet changed the game countless times by becoming a trendsetter and trailblazer – a mega star everyone wanted to emulate. Raise your hand if you ever practiced saying “5,4,3,2,1”, in the mirror with the accompanying finger movements from the “Rhythm Nation” video. Count me in that number! Did you ever find yourself dancing alone in front of the mirror like Janet in the video for “The Pleasure Principle”? Do you remember when she elevated the hoop earring to a whole new level of cool by adding the dangling key? Did you run out and get box braids after seeing her flawlessly rock them in Poetic Justice? Let’s also not forget that she was the first artist to make dancing with a chair look chic and easy. The list goes on and on…
- Seducing Your Imagination: Janet is one of the few female artists who became a bonafide sex symbol while staying, for the most part, fully clothed. She was literally covered from head to toe during the promotional work and performances for the Control and Rhythm Nation 1814 albums. Sure, she eventually gave us glimpses of her rock hard abs and toned arms, but Janet never felt the need to perform on stage in next to nothing in order gain or keep the world’s attention. And, no, I’m not selectively forgetting the infamous Super Bowl “nip slip” a.k.a “wardrobe malfunction”. But, I simply don’t subscribe to the notion that exposing 3 inches of skin for 3 seconds on camera defines Janet’s career-long unique ability to seduce while still leaving a lot to the imagine.
- Pushing the Envelope: Janet perfected the art of masterfully re-inventing herself with every album. Each time Janet emerged back on the scene, she had a new look, a revised sound and a new message; all while maintaining her authenticity as an artist. Janet used her music as a vehicle for her message, whether she was singing about social consciousness, sexual exploration, domestic violence, relationship woes, or being in l-o-v-e. In today’s arena, many female artists are afraid to shake things up and prefer the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But, not Janet because she never played it safe. She instead took big risks and pushed the limits of creativity in her music, performances and videos; all while making us beg for more!
Words: Nicole Smith
Photo: PR Photos
Nicole Smith is the founder of chitchatrunway.com, a pop culture blog featuring celebrity & entertainment news, fashion, beauty, and sports! She is a self-professed pop culture addict residing in Atlanta with her husband and young son. Nicole enjoys being a Blogger Ambassador and monthly entertainment contributor for upscalemagazine.com/ and is also a proud blogging partner of WE TV.