"Endurance is my heritage, especially as a black woman... it's that strength that allows us to get down, get through and get over." Janet Jackson
The youngest sister of “King of Pop” Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson broke into the music scene with the release of her album Control (1986), which spawned the hit singles "What Have You Done For Me Lately," "Nasty" and "When I Think Of You." Since then, Janet Jackson had launched such successful albums as Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989, "Miss You Much"), Janet. (1993, "That's The Way Love Goes"), The Velvet Rope (1997, "Together Again"), All for You (2001) and Damita Jo (2004, "I Want You"). She also branched out in acting, starring with Tupac Shakur and Maya Angelou in the 1993 film Poetic Justice (Janet also co-wrote the Academy Award-nominated song “Again”) and costarred with Eddie Murphy in Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000).
The Grammy-winning pop, R&B and soul singer-songwriter, whose vocal range is 2nd soprano and top note is "e," was the ninth-most successful artist in the history of rock and roll according to Billboard magazine in 2004 (also the youngest artist in the top ten of that group) and the second most successful artist on the Billboard Dance/Club Play Chart (behind only Madonna). She was also on VH1's “100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll” list.
5' 4" tall Janet Jackson, who measures 35C-22 1/2-36, was voted one of "The 10 Sexiest Women of 2001" by the readers of Black Men Magazine. In the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII (38) in February 2004, Janet raised controversy for a "wardrobe malfunction," which exposing her right breast while performing alongside Justin Timberlake.
On a more positive note, Janet recently received a humanitarian award from the gay rights group the Human Rights Campaign for donating a sum of money to the American Foundation for AIDS Research, the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation.
"In complete darkness, it is only knowledge and wisdom that separates us." Janet Jackson
Childhood and Family:
"Being from a famous family is a blessing. I'm challenged to live up to the expectations. I'm happy, grateful for what I've inherited and excited about what I want to contribute." Janet Jackson
The youngest of nine children to parents Joseph Walter Jackson (was a crane operator in a steel mill) and Katherine Esther Jackson (was a store clerk for Sears), Janet Damita Jo Jackson was born on May 16, 1966, in Gary, Indiana. She has eight older siblings: LaToya Jackson (born on May 29, 1956), Rebbie Jackson (born on May 29, 1950), Randy Jackson (October 29, 1961), Michael Jackson (August 29, 1959), Marlon David (March 12, 1957), Jermaine La Juane (December 11, 1954), Tito Jackson (October 15, 1953) and Jackie Jackson (May 4, 1951). Her grandparents are Prince Albert Scruse (maternal grandfather), Samuel Jackson (paternal grandfather), Martha Upshaw (maternal grandmother) and Chrystal Lee (paternal grandmother).
Janet grew up under the affluence of a show business family, when brothers Jackie, Tito, Marlon, Jermaine, and Michael signed a contract with Motown Records in 1968. They later topped the music charts as The Jackson Five, with such hits as "I Want You Back," "Stop, the Love You Save," "ABC" and "Dancing Machine."
Janet Jackson, nicknamed Dunk or J, attended Lanai Road School, Portola Middle School, Tarzana, California and Valley Professional School. She has always wanted to return to school to study law.
In August of 1984, Janet married James Debarge, but it was annulled in March 1985. She then tied the knot with Rene Elizondo (choreographer; born in 1963), but they divorced in 2000. Janet owns homes in Los Angeles and New York, and has 4 dogs: Riley (a Rottweiler); Dylan (a Boxer); Madison (a miniature Schnauzer) and Pockets (an Australian shepherd-cross).
"I kinda see everyone as competition. I'm a very competitive person. But I think that's good. Competition is great. And as long as it's friendly and not a malicious thing, then I think it's cool." Janet Jackson
In order to further her brothers’ music career, two-year-old Janet Jackson moved with her family from Indiana to California. Five years later, she began her public performances in her family's Las Vegas act, impersonating such celebrities as Cher, Marie Osmond, Toni Tennille and Mae West. On June 16, 1976, Janet premiered on the CBS variety series, "The Jacksons," which lasted only two seasons and was canceled in 1977.
TV producer Norman Lear cast 11-year-old Janet to play the reoccurring role of an abused child named Penny Gordon in the CBS popular family sitcom “Good Times” (starring J.J. Evans) and she later appeared as JoJo Ashton on the brief-running ABC sitcom, "A New Kind of Family." In another family sitcom, NBC’s "Diff'rent Strokes," Janet played the reoccurring role of Charlene Duprey, the love interest of Todd Bridges' character, and then played Cleo Hewitt in the musical series "Fame" in 1984.
Writing her first song at the age of nine and making her first recording with baby brother Randy on a song titled "A Love Song for Kids" in 1978, 16-year-old Janet, who never aspired to be a professional singer, eventually released her debut album, simply called Janet Jackson. The album, produced by soul singers Angela Winbush, Rene Moore and Leon Sylvers of the famed Sylvers family music group, went to #6 on the Billboard R&B album charts and stayed 45 weeks in the Top 50 and spotted #63 on the Billboard Pop albums chart. It also featured Janet's first Billboard top ten hit on the R&B charts, "Young Love" and two Top 20 follow-ups, "Say You Do" and "Come Give Your Love to Me."
Dream Street, Janet's sophomore album, was released in 1984. The funkier, up-tempo album produced by brother Marlon and famed disco producer Giorgio Moroder, only reached #147 on the Billboard pop album charts, but went to #19 on the R&B chart. It featured the #9 US R&B singles "Don't Stand Another Chance" and #40's "Fast Girls."
With the help of producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Janet’s breakthrough album Control (February 1986) was released. The #1 US album (#8 in the UK) spawned the smash hit singles "What Have You Done For Me Lately," "Nasty," "When I Think Of You," "Control," "Let's Wait Awhile" and "The Pleasure Principle." Its music videos, the dynamic dance moves choreographed by Paula Abdul, helped in the selling of album. Control sold over five million copies in America alone by the end of 1986 and instantly launched Janet’s name as a popular artist.
In October of 1989, the album Rhythm Nation 1814 was released. It produced seven Top Five hit singles: "Miss You Much," "Rhythm Nation," "Escapade," "Alright," "Come Back To Me," "Black Cat" and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)." The top pop album of 1990, which spent four weeks #1 on both Pop and R&B charts in the USA, sold six million copies by the end of 1990 and gave Janet a Grammy Award for Best Longform Music Video. It also earned her 9 Billboard Awards in 1990.
Janet Jackson entered motion pictures in 1993 when filmmaker John Singleton cast her as a tough, poetic hairdresser from South Central, Los Angeles, in his romantic drama film Poetic Justice, alongside rapper Tupac Shakur. In the film, Janet also co-wrote and performed the song "Again," which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song. Meanwhile, Janet continued her music career and released the next album Janet (1993). It spawned six top 10 hits, "That's The Way Love Goes," "If," "Again," "Because of Love," "Any Time, Any Place" (spent 10 weeks at #1 on Billboard's R&B Singles Chart) and "You Want This." Janet was an international success, reaching #1 in 22 countries, selling 17 million copies, and became the fourth biggest selling album of the year in the US (sold 4.3 million copies after just 7 months of release and spent 48 weeks in the Top 10 in 1993). It also earned Janet a Grammy ("That's The Way Love Goes”), MTV Video Music and several Soul Train Music Awards.
In 1995, Janet collaborated with brother Michael on the Number One hit "Scream" and received a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video. She also released her greatest hits compilation, Design of a Decade 1986/1996, which spawned the No. 3 US hit single "Runaway." In 1996, Janet re-signed with Virgin records for an estimated $80 million, making her the highest paid recording artist of all time. On October 7, 1997, Janet released her next album, The Velvet Rope, her 4th album to reach No.1 on the Billboard 200. The triple-platinum album spawned the No.1 "Together Again" and the No. 3 "I Get Lonely." It also netted her a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video for “Got 'Til It's Gone.”
"We're all driven to premieres or nightclubs and seen the rope separating those who can enter and those who can't. Well, there's also a velvet rope we have inside of us, keeping others from knowing our feelings. In this album I'm trying to expose and explore those feelings. I'm inviting you inside my barrier. During my life I've been on both sides of the rope. At times, especially during my childhood, I felt left out and alone. At times I felt misunderstood. But no human heard those feelings expressed. They stayed buried in the past. But now the truth has to come out, and for me, the truth takes the form of a song." Janet Jackson on her 1997 recording "The Velvet Rope"
Back on the silver screen, Janet replaced Jada Pinkett-Smith as Denise Gaines in Eddie Murphy's vehicle Nutty Professor II: The Klumps. Janet released a single for the movie titled "Doesn't Really Matter" in June 2000 (later was featured on her "All For You" 2001 album), which peaked at #1 on the Billboard pop charts within a few weeks after the release. Janet’s next album, All for You, also featured the #1 single "All For You" (won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording), the #3 "Someone To Call My Lover” and a modest Top 40 hit "Son of a Gun" (#28 US). Afterward, Janet collaborated with reggae singer Beenie Man on the song "Feel It Boy" (#28 US).
Damita Jo, Janet's eighth studio effort, was released in March of 2004. It spawned the Prince-inspired "Just a Little While" (#18 US R&B), the Motown/Supremes-inspired ballad "I Want You" (#45 US) and the danceable "All Nite (Don't Stop)" (#1 US Dance). Damita Jo peaked at #2, sold over 970,000-plus copies and eventually went platinum. It also gave Janet nominations from the American Music Awards, Source Music Awards, BET Music Awards and Grammy Awards.
In 2004, Janet performed with Justin Timberlake in the Superbowl XXXVIII halftime show (experienced a "wardrobe malfunction") and appeared as both the host (spoofing her infamous wardrobe malfunction) and musical guest on Saturday Night Live. She also reportedly plans to release a new album with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, with Jermaine Dupri as one of its executive producers.
"There's nothing more depressing than having everything and still feeling sad." Janet Jackson