Janet Damita Jo Jackson (born May 16, 1966) is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer and actress. Born in Gary, Indiana and raised in Encino, California, she is the youngest member of the Jackson family of musicians. Initially performing on stage with her family at the age of seven, Jackson began her career as an actress with the variety television series The Jacksons. She went on to star in other television shows including Good Times, A New Kind of Family, Diff'rent Strokes, and Fame.

Jackson faced initial difficulties after launching her recording career in 1982, often criticized for having a limited vocal range and being yet another child from the Jackson family to become a recording artist. However, with the collaboration of record producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Jackson found record-breaking success, producing five consecutive number one studio albums on the Billboard 200; beginning with the release of Control (1986) followed by Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989), janet. (1993), The Velvet Rope (1997), and All for You (2001). Although critics have compared her contemporary work less favorably to that of her initial breakthroughs, the critical and commercial success of her innovative multi-platinum albums, music videos and choreography have contributed to Jackson's successful career as an entertainer.

Though Jackson is listed by the Recording Industry Association of America as the eleventh best-selling female artist in the United States with 26 million certified albums, Billboard magazine named her one of the top-ten selling artists in the history of contemporary music.[1][2][3] She is ranked as the ninth most successful act in the history of rock music and the second most successful female artist in pop music history, having sold over 100 million albums worldwide.[4][5][6] Amidst her recording career, Jackson has also starred in feature films since the mid-1990s. Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? (2007), for which Jackson won a NAACP Image Award, became her third consecutive film to open at number one at the box office, following Poetic Justice (1993) and Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000).


1966–1982: Early life and career debut

Janet Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana, the daughter of Katherine Esther (née Scruse) and Joseph Walter Jackson, and is the youngest of the nine Jackson children.[7] The family were lower-middle class and devout Jehovah's Witnesses. By the time she was a toddler, her older brothers—Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael—had already started to perform on stage at nightclubs and theaters as the Jackson 5. In March 1969, the group signed a record deal with Motown, and by the end of the year they had recorded the first of four consecutive number-one singles. The Jackson 5's success allowed the entire family to move to the Encino neighborhood of Los Angeles, California in 1971.[7] The Jacksons settled in a gated mansion that they referred to as "Hayvenhurst." Although born into a family of musical prodigies, Jackson—whose love of horses initially inspired her to become a race-horse jockey—had no aspiration to become an entertainer. Her father, however, planned for her to follow in the family's footsteps. Jackson commented, "No one ever asked me if I wanted to go into show was expected."[7]

In 1974, at the age of seven, Jackson appeared on stage in Las Vegas, Nevada alongside her siblings in a routine show at the original MGM Casino.[8] Jackson's career as an actress began with the debut of the CBS variety show The Jacksons, in which she appeared alongside her siblings Tito, Rebbie, Randy, Michael, Marlon, Latoya and Jackie.[9] In 1977, at the age of ten, Jackson was selected by producer Norman Lear to play a recurring role in the sitcom Good Times.[10] From 1979 to 1980, Jackson starred in A New Kind of Family, and then joined the cast of Diff'rent Strokes from 1981 to 1982.[10] Jackson played a recurring role during the fourth season of the television series Fame—based on the 1980 feature film of the same name—as Cleo Hewitt.[11]

1982–1985: Janet Jackson and Dream Street

Main articles: Janet Jackson (album) and Dream Street (album)

Although Jackson was initially apprehensive about starting a music career, she agreed to participate in recording sessions with her family. Her first recording was a duet with her brother Randy on a song titled "Love Song for Kids" in 1978. At the age of fifteen, her father (and manager) Joseph Jackson launched her recording career by arranging a contract with A&M Records.[8] Her debut album Janet Jackson was released in 1982 and produced by soul singers Angela Winbush, René Moore and Leon F. Sylvers III. The album peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot R&B albums chart.[12] Jackson received poor critical reception, with critics commenting she had "no distinctive musical personality of her own".[13] In 1984, Jackson's second album, Dream Street was released. Critical reception was considered favorable to that of Jackson's debut album, as Jackson musical style was described as a "prime [example] of pleasing '80s pop".[14] Dream Street peaked at number nineteen on the R&B albums chart, and its sales were less than that of Jackson's debut album. The album's only hit "Don't Stand Another Chance" peaked at number nine on Billboard's R&B singles chart.[15] In the same year, Jackson eloped with childhood friend and fellow R&B singer James DeBarge, but they divorced shortly afterwards and the marriage was subsequently annulled.[8]

1986–1992: Control and Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814

Main articles: Control (Janet Jackson album) and Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814

After the limited successes of her first two albums, A&M Records hired producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to work with Jackson. Within six weeks, Jackson, Jam, and Lewis crafted Jackson's breakthrough album, Control, a concept album based on Jackson's new-found independence, which was released in February 1986.[16] Though producers Jam and Lewis were concerned with achieving cross-over appeal, their primary goal was to created a strong following within the African-American community first.[17] Jam commented, "We wanted to do an album that would be in every black home in America...we were going for the black album of all time."[17] The album was one of the first successful records to influence the rise of new jack swing, incorporating R&B, funk, jazz, soul and various production techniques, which emerged in the mid-1980s and peaked in the mid-1990s.[18] The album's singles, "What Have You Done for Me Lately," "Nasty," "When I Think of You" (Jackson's first number one single on the Billboard Hot 100), "Control," and "Let's Wait Awhile" each peaked within the Top 5; "The Pleasure Principle" reached the Top 20. Most of the Control music videos were choreographed by a then unknown Paula Abdul. "Let's Wait Awhile", which promoted sexual abstinence over promiscuity, earned Jackson a reputation as a role model for young women.[10] The album earned Jackson three Grammy nominations, six Billboard Music Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, and three Soul Train Awards.[19] Control was nominated for twelve American Music Awards, winning four: a record that has yet to be broken.[20] On October 26, 1989, Control was certified 5x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[21]

In 1989, Jackson began recording her fourth album, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814. 1814 referred to the year "The Star Spangled Banner" was written;[22] in addition, 'R' is the 18th letter of the alphabet and 'N' the 14th, hence 1814.[10] Rhythm Nation 1814 became a concept album based on social injustice. Though executives at A&M wanted an album similar to Control, Jackson was determined to imbue her music with a socially-conscious message that complemented her songs about love and relationships.[23] Unwilling to compromise her artistic integrity, Jackson shifted from "personal freedom to more universal concerns – injustice, illiteracy, crime, drugs – without missing a beat."[24] Much like its predecessor, the album contained heavy styling of new jack swing.[18] While Jackson's small voice was criticized and her social agenda garnered mixed reactions, reviews for Rhythm Nation 1814 were predominately positive; critics commented it was an even greater success than Control.[25] Rhythm Nation 1814 maintained airplay for over two years.[26] The album eventually became a record-setting and record-breaking album as the only album in history to score number one hits in three separate calendar years—"Miss You Much" in 1989, "Escapade" and "Black Cat" in 1990, and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" in 1991.[27] Jackson became the first artist to score a number-one hit simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 and Mainstream Rock singles charts with "Black Cat", and the only artist to have seven top-five singles on the Hot 100 from one album.[28] Billboard named Rhythm Nation 1814 the number-one selling album of the year, winning multiple music awards. The Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour had an attendance of more than two million people and remains the most successful debut tour by any artist.[29] On November 19, 1992 Rhythm Nation 1814 was certified 6x platinum.[30] In 1991, Jackson secretly entered into her second marriage with dancer, songwriter and director René Elizondo; the couple's relationship did not become public until Elizondo filed for Divorce in 2000.[8]

1993–1999: janet. and The Velvet Rope

Main articles: janet., Poetic Justice, and The Velvet Rope

With the release of the Rhythm Nation 1814 album, Jackson fulfilled her contract with A&M Records and signed a new deal with Virgin Records.[31] In May 1992, Jackson recorded a song entitled "The Best Things in Life Are Free" with Luther Vandross, featuring Bell Biv Devoe and Ralph Tresvant, for the Mo' Money original motion picture soundtrack.[31] The soundtrack single would be the sole recording from Jackson until the following spring, when the first single from her fifth studio album janet. would be released. On May 18, 1993, janet. debuted via Virgin Records, and became the first by a female artist to debut at number one during the Nielsen SoundScan era. Like its predecessors, the album contained numerous variations of the new jack swing genre, which hit its peak during the time of janet.'s debut. The album reached number one in twenty-two countries, and in less than a year it had reached worldwide sales of over ten million copies.[32] Critical reception was generally favorable, but janet. was considered to be less inspiring than Rhythm Nation 1814 and Control, as Jackson's voice was considered to be lost in the background of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis' arrangements.[33][34] janet. marked the beginning of Jackson's exploration of sexuality in her music. The album's number one hit single "That's the Way Love Goes" and the top ten singles "If," "Because of Love," "You Want This" and "Any Time, Any Place" all introduced listeners to Jackson's sexual fantasies.[35] In July 1993, Jackson made her big-screen debut in the John Singleton directed, Poetic Justice. Her role received predominately positive reviews, as Rolling Stone regarded Jackson's performance as "a beguiling film debut" despite her inexperience, while the Washington Post considered her "believably eccentric".[36][37] Jackson's ballad "Again" was featured on the film's soundtrack, and garnered a Golden Globe and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.[31] janet. was certified 6x platinum by the RIAA on April 12, 1994.[38]

In September 1993, Jackson appeared topless on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine with the hands of her then-husband René Elizondo covering her breasts.[8] The cover became one of the most celebrated photos ever taken of a rock artist, becoming widely imitated worldwide in entertainment, notably in Bollywood for Stardust magazine; Rolling Stone named it 'Most Popular Cover Ever' in 2000. Jackson was criticized for the explicitness of the photograph. Jackson collaborated with her brother Michael Jackson on the 1995 single, "Scream," the lead single from his album HIStory.[8] The song debuted at #5 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart, becoming the first song ever to debut in the top 5. "Scream" is featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the "Most Expensive Music Video Ever Made" at a cost of $7 million. The single also made the highest debut on the Hot Dance Club Play chart at number twelve. In October 1995, Jackson's first hits compilation, Design of a Decade 1986/1996, was released via A&M Records. In 1996, Jackson renewed her contract with Virgin Records for a reported $80 million.[39]

During the recording of Jackson's sixth studio album, she reportedly suffered from depression and anxiety—which fueled the concept behind 1997's The Velvet Rope. Songs dealing with domestic abuse, depression, self-esteem issues, homophobia, isolation, and S&M made up the bulk of the album's design.[40] In August 1997, the album's lead single, "Got 'Til It's Gone" was released to radio and was moderately successful. The single sampled the Joni Mitchell classic, "Big Yellow Taxi" and featured a cameo appearance by rapper Q-Tip. The album's second single "Together Again"—an homage to a friend Jackson lost to AIDS[41]—topped the charts, becoming Jackson's eighth number one hit on the Hot 100 chart, and placing her on par with Elton John, Diana Ross and The Rolling Stones.[42] The single spent a record 46 weeks on the Hot 100, as well as spending 19 weeks on the UK singles chart.[42] In 1998, Jackson began the The Velvet Rope Tour–an international trek that included Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. Jackson's HBO special, The Velvet Rope: Live in Madison Square Garden, was watched by more than 15 million viewers. The two-hour concert beat the ratings of all four major networks in homes that were subscribed to HBO.[43] The RIAA certified The Velvet Rope 3x platinum on January 15, 1999.[44] As her world tour came to a close in 1999, Jackson lent guest vocals to a number of songs by other artists, including Shaggy's "Luv Me, Luv Me," for the soundtrack to How Stella Got Her Groove Back, the Grammy-nominated "God's Stepchild" from the Down on the Delta soundtrack, "Girlfriend/Boyfriend" with BLACKstreet, and "What's It Gonna Be?!" with Busta Rhymes. Jackson performed a duet with Elton John for the song "I Know The Truth." As 1999 ended, Billboard Magazine ranked Jackson as the second most successful artist of the decade, behind Mariah Carey.[45]

2000–2005: All for You and Damita Jo

Main articles: All for You (album), Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy, and Damita Jo (album)

In July 2000, Jackson returned to the big screen with her second film, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, as professor Denise Gaines opposite Eddie Murphy. She contributed to the film's soundtrack with the track "Doesn't Really Matter", which became Jackson's ninth number one U.S. Billboard Hot 100 single. That same year, Jackson's husband Elizondo filed for divorce, which did not finalize until October 2003.[8] Jackson's seventh album, All for You, was released on April 24, 2001. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. Selling 605,000 copies, All For You had the highest first-week sales total of Jackson's career.[46] All For You sold more than three million copies in America.[47] The album's title track, which debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at #14, became the highest debut ever for a single that wasn't commercially available.[48] The single then reached #1 where it topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for seven weeks.[49] "All For You" made radio airplay history, "[being] added to every pop, rhythmic and urban radio station that reports to the national trade magazine Radio & Records" in its first week.[50] The second single, "Someone to Call My Lover", which contained a heavy guitar loop of America's "Ventura Highway", peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.[51] In 2002, Jackson collaborated with reggae singer Beenie Man on the song "Feel It Boy," which met moderate success. Jackson later admitted regret over the collaboration after discovering Beenie Man's music often contains homophobic lyrics; Jackson issued an apology to her gay following in an article contained in The Voice.[52] Jackson then accepted an invitation to join the 2004 Super Bowl festivities. Jackson also began her relationship with record producer Jermaine Dupri that same year.[8]

During the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII, Jackson's performance with Justin Timberlake resulted in the exposure of her right breast when Timberlake tore open Jackson's top. The incident occurred as Timberlake sang the lyric from his single "Rock Your Body"— "gonna have you naked by the end of this song." Jackson apologized, although not to the network directly, calling it an accident, and saying that Timberlake was supposed to pull away the bustier and leave the red-lace bra intact.[53] Timberlake also issued an apology, calling the accident a "wardrobe malfunction".[53] The incident became the most replayed moment in TiVo history and the most-searched event in the history of the Internet—surpassing the total number of searches for the September 11, 2001 attacks.[54][55] This subsequently earned Jackson a place in the Guinness World Records as "Most Searched in Internet History."[56] CBS, the NFL, and MTV (CBS's sister network that produced the halftime show), denied any knowledge and all responsibility of the incident under a hail of criticism. Still, the FCC continued an investigation. Jackson issued a public apology during a video broadcast, in addition to her initial written statement:

I am really sorry if I offended anyone. That was truly not my intention ...MTV, CBS, the NFL had no knowledge of this whatsoever, and unfortunately, the whole thing went wrong in the end.[57]

CBS would only let Jackson and Timberlake appear on the 2004 46th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony if they each made a public apology to the network itself and not under the ruse it was a "wardrobe malfunction"; Timberlake issued an apology, Jackson did not.[58] Jermaine Dupri left his post on the Grammy Awards committee after Jackson refused to apologize again for the Super Bowl incident.[59] The controversy surrounding the incident halted plans for Jackson to star in a made-for-TV biopic on the life on singer Lena Horne for ABC-TV. Though Horne was reportedly displeased with the Super Bowl halftime antics and insisted that ABC pull Jackson from the project, according to Jackson's representatives, she withdrew from the project willingly.[60]

In March 2004, Jackson's eighth studio album, Damita Jo, was released debuting at number two.[61] Despite the album's strong debut, its three singles all failed to become Top 40 hits.[61] Jackson appeared as a host of Saturday Night Live on April 10, 2004, where she performed a skit that parodied the Super Bowl incident. She also appeared in the popular television sitcom Will & Grace playing herself, interacting with sitcom characters Karen Walker and Jack McFarland as Jack was auditioning to be one of her back-up dancers. By the end of 2004, Damita Jo had sold 942,000 copies in the United States and was eventually certified platinum by the RIAA, but was considered a commercial disappointment compared to Jackson's previous albums.[61][62] Lackluster sales of Damita Jo have been speculated to be not only a result of negative publicity from the Super Bowl incident, but also due to MTV's "blacklisting" of Jackson's music videos.[63] Jermaine Dupri, the then-president of the urban music department at Virgin Records, expressed "sentiments of nonsupport from the label."[47]

2006–present: 20 Y.O. and Discipline

Main articles: 20 Y.O., Why Did I Get Married?, and Discipline (Janet Jackson album)

Jackson celebrated her fortieth birthday with a party at Shereen Arazms Shag in Los Angeles. In attendance were many of her former female dancers as well as singer Stevie Wonder, who serenaded her.[64] Jackson appeared on the cover of Us Weekly in June 2006, which became the magazine's best-selling issue ever.[65] Virgin Records released Jackson's ninth studio album, 20 Y.O., on September 26, 2006. 20 Years Old, the album title, represents "a celebration of the joyful liberation and history-making musical style of her 1986 breakthrough album, Control."[66] Jackson and producers Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Jermaine Dupri focused the album's production to R&B and dance oriented music—the two genres which made her famous.[67] 20 Y.O. garnered modest critical reception, with many commentators asserting the album did not meet the awe inspiring production of its namesake, Control.[68][69] The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, selling over 296,000 copies in its first week.[70] The album's lead single "Call on Me"—a duet with rapper Nelly—became the only single to peak in the top 40, hitting number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Album, but did not win the award.[71] 20 Y.O. was eventually certified platinum, but sold less than its predecessor Damita Jo.[72] Jermaine Dupri, who co-produced 20 Y.O., left his position as head of urban music at Virgin following the commercial disappointment of Jackson's album.[73] The release of 20 Y.O. satisfied Jackson's contract with Virgin Records.[74] Dupri and Jackson later joined the Universal Music Group label Island Records.

Jackson starred opposite Tyler Perry as a psychotherapist named Patrica in the feature film Why Did I Get Married?. Filming began on March 5, 2007, and the film was released on October 12, 2007.[75] The film opened at number one at the box office, grossing $21.4 million in its first week.[76] In February 2008, Jackson was nominated for and won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her role.[77]

In July 2007, Jackson changed labels and signed a new record contract with Island Records–under the same ownership as her first label, A&M Records. Jackson's tenth studio album, Discipline, which was an acknowledgment of Jackson's commitment, focus and dedication to her career, was released on February 26, 2008 under the supervision of label head Antonio "L.A." Reid.[78][79] Accompanied by record producer Jermaine Dupri, Discipline was Jackson's first album for the Island Def Jam Music Group.[80] Jackson and Jermaine Dupri severed as executive producers; long-term collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis did not contribute and Discipline was the first album on which Jackson did not co-write any of the material since 1984's Dream Street.[81] Although sales were less than that of Damita Jo and 20 Y.O., Discipline peaked in America on the Billboard 200 at number one with over 181,000 copies sold during that week, becoming Jackson's first number one album since All For You (2001).[70][82] Critical reception was generally positive as the album was said to be "as innocent, universal, and inviting as anything else in Janet's past", but other critics referred to the musical and lyrical content as "cheesy" and "bizarre", denouncing the overt sexual theme throughout the album.[81][83][84] On December 12 2007, the first single from the album, "Feedback", was leaked to select radio stations in the United States. On the Billboard Hot 100, the single originally peaked and remained in the top 50 for over six weeks, but after the album's release, it climbed to #19 on the Hot 100. It became Jackson's biggest hit single since "Someone To Call My Lover" in 2001. Though Discipline was widely expected to be Jackson's "comeback" album—similar to Mary J. Blige's The Breakthrough and Mariah Carey's The Emancipation of Mimi—Jackson has asserted that she has never stopped making music, and therefore, talks of a 'comeback' were misguided.[85] Jackson is expected to tour in support of the album, and is planning to visit Australia, Africa, Asia, and Europe.[86]



Jackson has credited her primary musical influences to be her elder brothers Michael and Jermaine.[87] Her musical style has encompassed a broad range of genres, including R&B, pop, new jack swing, soul, rap, rock, and dance. David Ritz of Rolling Stone compares Jackson's musical style to that of Marvin Gaye; Jackson, much like Gaye, has relied heavily on personal experience as the source of her music.[87] Other artists attributed to have influenced Jackson's music are The Ronettes, Dionne Warwick, Tammi Terrell and Diana Ross.[88] As a dancer, Jackson was heavily influenced by the choreography of Fred Astaire and Michael Kidd among others.[89]

Voice, themes and genres

Jackson's voice has been classified as mezzo-soprano, though the singer has been noted for having a limited vocal range.[31][90][91] Critics have caregorized "Jackson's small voice [as] a minor ingredient in a larger sonic blend by masterminds Jam and Lewis," however, other commentators observe this has never hindered Jackson's career.[91]

Her wispy voice was a pale echo of Michael's, but on Janet's albums - and in her videos and live performances, which revealed a crisp, athletic dance technique not unlike her brother's - singing wasn't the point. Her slamming beats, infectious hooks, and impeccable production values were perfectly suited to the breezy zeal with which she declared her social and sexual independence.

Rolling Stone[31]

Template:Sound sample box align right Template:Multi-listen start Template:Multi-listen item Template:Multi-listen item Template:Multi-listen end Template:Sample box end In 1986, when Jackson, Jam and Lewis crafted the breakthrough album Control, it became Jackson's declaration of independence. In the opening of the album's title-track, Jackson states "This is a story about control", while the lyrical content of the song describes Jackson's personal freedom after a lifetime of obeying the instruction of others.[17] The theme of independence is prevalent throughout the album, as in the singles "Nasty" when Jackson asserts to a male suitor "My name ain't baby" and challenges an inattentive boyfriend in "What Have You Done for Me Lately".[17] Jackson's follow-up album, Rhythm Nation 1814, displayed themes dealing with social injustices—racism, poverty, and crime among others. The 1993 janet. album contained the overt theme of sexual freedom, while The Velvet Rope began to explore S&M among other themes such as domestic abuse, depression, homophobia, and low self-esteem.

Jackson has consistently used R&B as a primary genre throughout the course of her recording career. When producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produced Jackson's 1986 album Control, they introduced the emerging style of new jack swing into her music.[18] New jack swing, which incorporates R&B, soul, jazz, and funk, as well as use of sample loop, triple swing and other various musical techniques, was created in part by L.A. Reid, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, and Teddy Riley in the mid 1980s.[92] Described as "the most pop-oriented rhythm-and-blues music since 1960s Motown," the genre was promoted as the "Sound of Young Black America."[92] Jam and Lewis continued to incorporate new jack swing into Jackson's later album's Rhythm Nation 1814 and janet. The Velvet Rope saw Jackson expand into adult contemporary, hip hop, and traditional soul and funk, abandoning new jack swing.[93] All for You, as well as subsequent albums Damita Jo and 20 Y.O., involved numerous dance-pop-oriented songs, while Discipline merged dance-pop with electronic beats, in addition to the familiar R&B style to which Jackson is accustom.[93][94]


As a child, Jackson routinely watched movie musicals with her brother Michael when they were not performing.[89] After Michael Jackson, and subsequently all recording artists began to make music videos in order to promote their albums, Janet Jackson drew her inspiration from the musicals she watched in her youth.[89]

Not since James Brown, Chubby Checker, and Elvis Presley wove dance and movement into their performances in the 1960s did the pop music world have so many charismatic vocalists who could dance.[89]

Jackson asked Michael Kidd to co-create her 1989 music video for "Alright", which was an homage to his opening sequence in the 1950 Broadway production of Guys and Dolls.[89] Throughout her career, Jackson has worked with numerous professional choreographers such as Paula Abdul and Tina Landon, working with both throughout her Control and Rhythm Nation 1814 years. Landon also took part in the choreography for Janet and Michael Jackson's music video "Scream".[95] With a career in dance music which spans two decades, Jackson's choreography has been credited for setting the benchmark for a number of contemporary artists.[66][96]

Public image

The baby sister of the "precious Jackson clan"[97] and the "King of Pop"[98]—Michael Jackson—Janet Jackson has strived to distance her professional career from that of her older brother and the rest of the Jackson family. Throughout her recording career, one of her common conditions for interviewers has been that there be no mention of Michael.[3] Despite being born into a family of entertainers, Janet Jackson has managed to establish her unique impact on the recording industry—rivaling not only several female entertainers including Madonna, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, but also her brother—while "successfully [shifting] her image from a strong, independent young woman to a sexy, mature adult".[10][96] Jackson's musical style, influenced by long time collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, along with her photogenic beauty and signature choreographed dance routines have contributed to her global success as an entertainer.[99] When the American music industry began its economic recovery in the mid-1980s from the fall of the disco era, Janet Jackson, among other multi-platinum selling music artists, was acknowledged for stimulating the overall increase in consumer purchasing of LPs, cassette tapes and CDs.[100] Though it was Michael Jackson's Thriller that originally synchronized music video with album sales, Janet Jackson, along with Madonna, Whitney Houston, Nirvana, Guns n' Roses and U2, saw the visualization of her music elevate her to the status of a pop culture icon.[101]

As princess of America's black royal family, everything Janet Jackson does is important. Whether proclaiming herself in charge of her life, as she did on Control (1986), or commander in chief of a rhythm army dancing to fight society's problems (Rhythm Nation 1814, from 1989), she's influential. And when she announces her sexual maturity [janet.]'s a cultural moment.

Rolling Stone[102]

In addition to her status as a pop icon, Jackson was named "Best Female Sex Symbol" in 1994 and one of the greatest African-American sex symbols by Ebony in 2005.[103][104] Jackson has also been recognized as a gay icon, awarded by several LGBT organizations for her contribution to AIDS-related charities as well as being a long-term ally of the gay community.[105]


Main articles: List of Janet Jackson awards, Grammy nominations for Janet Jackson, MTV Video Music Award nominations for Janet Jackson, American Music Award nominations for Janet Jackson, and Janet Jackson as gay icon

Since 1986, Jackson has produced thirty-two number-one singles on various Billboard charts. With fourteen number one hits on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, Jackson stands in second place among female artists with the most R&B/Hip-Hop hit singles, behind Aretha Franklin, who has twenty.[106][107] Jackson's Control, Rhythm Nation 1814, and janet. made her the only recording artist ever to score five or more top ten singles from three consecutive albums.[108] Rhythm Nation 1814 also enabled Jackson to become the first recording artist to ever achieve seven top five hit singles from a single album.[10] Jackson's tenth studio album Discipline, which became her sixth album to debut at number one, has allowed her to surpass brother Michael's five number one studio albums.[109]

At the 1999 World Music Awards, Jackson received the Legend Award alongside Cher for "lifelong contribution to the music industry and outstanding contribution to the pop industry."[110] Recognized as one of the biggest female pop and R&B stars of the 1980s and 1990s,[10] Jackson was awarded a top honor from the American Music Awards—the Award of Merit—in March 2001 for "her finely crafted, critically acclaimed and socially conscious, multi-platinum albums."[111] Jackson became the inaugural honoree of the "mtvICON" award—an annual recognition of artists who have made significant contributions to music, music video, and pop culture while tremendously impacting the MTV generation.[112] The ceremony featured performances by Destiny's Child, N'Sync, Pink, Mýa, Usher, Macy Gray, Britney Spears and others.[113] Jackson has been credited for influencing a number of female R&B music artists, including Ciara, Beyoncé Knowles, Cassie, Aaliyah, Brandy, and Monica.[88][114]

In 2003, Jackson's Design of a Decade 1986/1996, Rhythm Nation 1814, Control, janet. and The Velvet Rope were listed on the BMG Music Club's 100 Biggest Selling Albums in the U.S., coming in at #9, #35, #58, #63 and #95, respectively.[115] Jackson's The Velvet Rope and Rhythm Nation 1814 were named by Rolling Stone magazine as two of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, coming in at #256 and #275.[116] On June 18, 2005, Janet was awarded a Humanitarian Award by the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization and AIDS Project Los Angeles on behalf of her work and involvement in raising money for AIDS charities.[117]

In 2006, it was announced that Jackson was the "Most Searched in Internet History" and the "Most Searched for News Item" by the Guinness World Records as a result of the halftime show controversy of Super Bowl XXXVIII.[56] The following year, Jackson's Control and janet. were listed by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as two of the 200 Definitive Albums of All Time, coming in at #87 and #151, respectively.[118] In addition, Jackson was ranked the 7th richest woman in the entertainment business by Forbes magazine, having amassed a fortune of over $150 million.[119] On April 26, 2008, Jackson received the Vanguard Award—a media award from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation to honor members of the entertainment community who have made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for LGBT people—at the 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards.[120] Jackson also appeared in a public service announcement sponsored by Logo and GLSEN—the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network—in response to the E.O. Green School shooting.[121]


Main article: Janet Jackson discography
  • 1982: Janet Jackson
  • 1984: Dream Street
  • 1986: Control
  • 1989: Rhythm Nation 1814
  • 1993: janet.
  • 1997: The Velvet Rope
  • 2001: All for You
  • 2004: Damita Jo
  • 2006: 20 Y.O.
  • 2008: Discipline


  • 1990: Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour
  • 1993-1995: janet. Tour
  • 1998-1999: The Velvet Rope Tour
  • 2001-2002: All for You Tour
  • 2008: Rock Witchu Tour

Other works

Main article: Janet Jackson videography

Television series

  • 1976-1977: The Jacksons
  • 1977-1979: Good Times
  • 1979-1980: A New Kind of Family
  • 1980-1984: Diff'rent Strokes
  • 1984-1985: Fame


  • 1993: Poetic Justice
  • 2000: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps
  • 2007: Why Did I Get Married?

See also

  • List of best-selling music artists
  • List of best selling music artists in U.S.
  • List of best-selling albums (United States)
  • List of best-selling albums worldwide
  • List of number-one hits (United States)


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  • Starr, Larry. Waterman, Christopher Alan. American Popular Music : The Rock Years. New York Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN 9780195300529
  • Hoffmann, Frank W. Ferstler, Howard. Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound. Routledge, 2005. ISBN 9780203603284
  • Mitoma, Judy. Mitoma, Judith. Zimmer, Elizabeth. Stieber, Dale Ann. Heinonen, Nelli. Shaw, Norah Zuňiga. Envisioning dance on film and video. Routledge, 2002. ISBN 0415941717
  • Cutcher, Jenai. Feel the Beat: Dancing in Music Videos. The Rosen Publishing Group, 2003. ISBN 0823945588
  • Halstead, Craig. Cadman, Chris. Jacksons Number Ones. Authors On Line, 2003. ISBN 0755200985
  • Warner, Jay. On this Day in Black Music History. Hal Leonard, 2006. ISBN 0634099264
  • Cullen, Jim. Popular Culture in American History. Blackwell Publishing, 2001. ISBN 0631219587
  • Dean, Maury. Rock-N-Roll Gold Rush. Algora Publishing, 2003. ISBN 0875862071
  • Gaar, Gillian G. She's a rebel: the history of women in rock & roll. Seal Press, 2002. ISBN 1580050786
  • Hyatt, Wesley. The Billboard Book of Number One Adult Contemporary Hits. Billboard Books, 1999. ISBN 0823076938
  • Bronson, Fred. The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. Billboard Books, 2003. ISBN 0823076776
  • Ripani, Richard J. The New Blue Music: Changes in Rhythm & Blues, 1950-1999 Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2006. ISBN 1578068622
  • Strong, Martin Charles. The Great Rock Discography: Complete Discographies Listing Every Track Recorded by More Than 1200 Artists. Canongate U.S., 2004. ISBN 1841956155
  • Brackett, Nathan. Hoard, Christian David. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon and Schuster, 2004. ISBN 0743201698

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