After a brief marriage to James DeBarge, Jackson set out to
find her own identity. Janet collaborated with producers Jimmy
Jam and Terry Lewis, and the trio created Jackson's breakout
album, Control (1986) and the socially-focused follow-up, Rhythm
Nation 1814 (1989). In the early 1990s, Jackson signed a
record-breaking recording deal with Virgin Records for the
s--ually-charged album janet. (1993) which proved to be a larger
success than its two predecessors. Jackson also returned to
acting, starring in Poetic Justice (1993).
By the end of the 1990s, Janet Jackson's relationship with Rene Elizondo Jr. was coming to an end. In early 2000, the couple announced their divorce; though Jackson and Elizondo had kept their marriage a secret for nearly a decade. While filming Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000), Jackson continued to work on All for You (2001), which gained success on the Billboard charts.
In 2004, Jackson made headlines for her Super Bowl halftime show performance during a duet with Justin Timberlake when he exposed Jackson's right breast. The event became a media controversy and put a damper on the release of her album Damita Jo (2004), which failed to yield any hit singles. The same year, Jackson was ranked as the ninth most successful artist in the history of rock and roll, and the second most successful female artist of all time according to Billboard magazine in 2004. Jackson is currently dating and collaborating with producer Jermaine Dupri and will release her ninth studio album, 20 Y.O., in September 2006.
Janet was born the youngest of nine Jackson children in Gary, Indiana to parents Joseph and Katherine Jackson. Living in a two-bedroom house with eight older siblings, Janet's father, Joseph, worked as a crane operator in a steel mill, and before she became a devout Jehovah's Witness, her mother Katherine worked as a store clerk for Sears. Before Janet's birth, her father decided to try a hand at a music career fronting the R&B band The Falcons, but never got as far as the top nightclubs in Indiana. According to reports, Janet's father was gregarious and stern while her mother was deeply religious and saintly.
By the time she was a toddler, Janet's older brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael had already begun to perform on stage at nightclubs and theaters as the Jackson 5. In March 1969, the group signed to Motown Records, and by the end of the year, the group recorded their first of their four consecutive number-one singles. By the time the Jackson 5 had achieved success, the entire family was re-located to Southern California, and eventually settling in a gated mansion they named Hayvenhurst in Encino, CA in 1971.
Aspiring to be a horse jockey, Janet Jackson had no intention of entering show business. However, after the success of the Jackson 5 began to diminish, Joseph decided to bring the rest of his children into the spotlight, including Janet. On April 9, 1974, Janet made her public debut performance at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with nearly all nine members of the Jackson family. Janet quickly became the star of the show, emulating various celebrities of the day such as Cher, Marie Osmond, Toni Tennille, and Mae West.
By 1976, the Janet Jackson family's Vegas act had caught the attention of CBS president Fred Silverman. The network was desperately trying to find a new variety act to replace the recently ended Sonny & Cher Show, since ABC had a competing show featuring Donny and Marie Osmond. Debuting on June 16, 1976, The Jacksons show became the first African-American family to have a variety show on TV. The show lasted only two seasons and was canceled in 1977.
Jackson always had an interest in music, writing her first song at the age of nine, but she never aspired to be a professional singer. Nonetheless, she agreed to participate in music to help her family. Her first ever recording was a duet with her brother Randy on a song titled 'Love Song for Kids' in 1978. She would participate in her family's other recordings, particularly with sister LaToya and brother Michael.
In 1981, Janet Jackson and her two older sisters LaToya and Rebbie had wanted to start their own musical group, but disagreements between the older sisters forced the group to disband before ever making a record. Instead Janet was featured on LaToya's 1981 album called My Special Love on the song "Camp Kuchi Kaiai".
Although she was asked by her father Joseph to start a singing career, Jackson was uncomfortable with being in the recording studio, feeling she was not as vocally talented as her sister Rebbie or her brother Michael, who was becoming a solo pop superstar. Nonetheless, at the age of sixteen, she released her debut album, entitled simply Janet Jackson (1982), though the teenager protested that her last name should not have been on the cover. Produced by soul singers Angela Winbush, Rene Moore and Leon Sylvers of the famed Sylvers family music group, the album reached the top ten of the Billboard R&B album charts, and spent forty-five weeks in the top fifty of that chart but was much less successful on the Billboard pop albums chart. The album yielded three singles, "Young Love," "Say You Do" and "Come Give Your Love to Me." Janet Jackson sold over 250 thousand copies at the time of its release.
In 1984, Janet Jackson, then 18, released her second album, titled Dream Street. It marked a musical progression from her debut, with funkier, up-tempo production by brother Marlon and famed disco producer Giorgio Moroder, producer of songs for artists such as Donna Summer. The album failed to make the top one hundred of the Billboard pop album charts but did reach number nineteen on the R&B chart. Though Dream Street scored a Top 10 R&B hit with "Don't Stand Another Chance", sales of Dream Street were about half of her debut's. Critics soon began to dismiss Jackson's career as a pop star.
Around the same time, Jackson fell in love and eloped with James DeBarge, a member of the Motown family group DeBarge. The marriage was annulled in March 1985, with DeBarge's drug habit often cited as the reason. After the marriage was annulled and after years of dealing with being a member of a world-famous family, Jackson began to search for independence. It has long been alleged, but not conclusively proven, that Jackson and DeBarge produced a daughter who was born after their breakup.
Control, released February 1986, became a hit, spawning five Top 5 singles, including her first number one single "When I Think Of You". The album became a breakthrough record for Jackson partly due to the singles' music videos that showcased dynamic dance moves choreographed by Paula Abdul. Janet trademarked herself, wearing an earring with a key. Janet Jackson later revealed that the key belonged to the animal cages at her family's estate.
Control featured "What Have You Done For Me Lately", "The Pleasure Principle", and the ballad "Let's Wait Awhile". The album went to the top of the Billboard 200 album chart and sold over five million copies in America by the end of 1986. Control was awarded a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year, six Billboard Music Awards, four American Music Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards and three Soul Train Music Awards including Album of the Year. That same year, Jackson took a step towards her independence: she fired her father-manager, Joseph Jackson.
Producers Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis, originally wanted the album's more upbeat tracks to be housed on the first half on the album, with the socially-conscious material featured on the second half. Jackson disagreed. She thought the album had an important message and pushed it to be the record's main focus.
Released in September 1989, Rhythm Nation 1814 went to number one on the Billboard 200 album chart, and R&B album chart. The first single, "Miss You Much", went to number one. A long-form video which included "Miss You Much", "The Knowledge" and "Rhythm Nation" was shot by director Domenic Sena (See also Rhythm Nation 1814 Film). The video represented a coming together of all people, and took a social stance on issues such as bigotry, ignorance, and education. "Miss You Much" and "Rhythm Nation" were shot in black and white and featured elaborate military-style choreography and costumes. The set went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Long Form Video.
Rhythm Nation 1814 sold six million copies by the end of the following year, and became the first album to spawn seven Top 5 singles, as well as four number one singles: "Miss You Much", "Escapade", "Black Cat", and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)".
In 1990, Billboard awarded the album with the #1 Selling Album of the Year award. Jackson won multiple awards including fifteen Billboard Music Awards, five American Music Awards, four Soul Train Music Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, and her first Grammy Award.
Jackson went on a tour, Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour, to promote the album. Janet Jackson became the first artist to score a #1 hit simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 and Mainstream Rock singles chart with "Black Cat" in 1990. The song's rock influence was a departure from her other work. The video served as a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour. The album scored four number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100, and the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart and three number one singles on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
In an effort to take a turn with her image, Janet Jackson decided to shoot a s--y video with photographer Herb Ritts, for the final single, "Love Will Never Do (Without You)." The video proved to be a turning point for Jackson. She was no longer the shy little girl that the public had known. Instead, she was a fully developed woman who had carved out her place in music history.
In 1991, Janet Jackson and long-time boyfriend, Rene Elizondo Jr., were secretly married in a private ceremony. Both hid their marriage from the public for almost a decade.
Before Janet Jackson released her follow-up to Rhythm Nation 1814, she was freed from her contract with A&M Records. When Jackson signed to Virgin Records in 1992, it was a media event. Her $40 million was the largest recording deal in history. It set the stage for her Virgin debut, the album, titled janet., or janet period. The eclectic set featured everything from pop, to rock, to dance and funk, and even opera. Janet's long-time partner, Rene Elizondo, was quoted as saying, "this album is so hot, it should be packaged with a condom." Jackson, wanting to be recognized in her own right, dropped the surname 'Jackson.' After the mega-success of the "Janet album"; Janet released her 10TH Anniversary/Greatest Hits album "Design of a Decade" distributed by A&M records. "Design of a Decade" achieved multi-platinum status and spawned the #1 Billboard Hot 100 single, "Runaway". Virgin Records eventually signed Janet to a (4) album record deal, for a reported $80 million dollars.
In July 1993, Janet made her screen debut in the John Singleton directed, Poetic Justice. Janet's most successful ballad, "Again", was featured on the film's soundtrack. The single went to number one and garnered Jackson a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song From A Motion Picture.
janet. became the first of the Nielsen SoundScan era to debut in the U.S. at number one, and it reached number one in twenty-two countries, sold seventeen million copies and won several awards, including a Grammy Award. It was the fourth best-selling album of the year in the U.S., and the eighth biggest selling album of the following year on the year end Billboard Top Albums chart.
The album spawned other five Top 10 hit singles: "If", "You Want This", "Again", "Any Time, Any Place", and "Because of Love". Jackson produced a racy video for the single "Any Time, Any Place" featuring herself in numerous s--ual positions with another actor. Jackson included a message of safe s-- in the video. The song stayed afloat at the top of the R&B charts for 10 weeks.
In September 1993, Jackson appeared topless on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. The cover became one of the most celebrated photos ever taken of a rock artist, and Rolling Stone named it their 'Most Popular Cover Ever' in 2000. In a precursor of her Super Bowl controversy, Jackson was criticized for the explicitness of the photograph, but she shyly insisted that the male hands covering her breasts belonged to her husband.
We have the kind of night when morning comes too soon. We use the light from a flickering candle across the room to make the kind of shadows that only one thing could make.... Love.
The janet. Tour began in November 1993 and played for 12 full months to packed audiences all around the globe, ending in April 1995.
After years of reservations, Janet Jackson decided to collaborate with her brother, Michael Jackson, on the 1995 single, "Scream," the lead single from his first greatest hits collection. The song lashed out at the media, and a futuristic music video was created with the help of director Mark Romanek, showing off both artists' style of dance and fashion.
In October 1995, she released her first Greatest Hits package, Design of a Decade 1986/1996. The album focused primarily on her A&M period, but contained one Virgin Records track, "That's the Way Love Goes." Two new songs were recorded for the package, "Runaway," and "Twenty Foreplay."
In 1996, Janet Jackson re-signed with Virgin for a reported
$80 million, which made her the highest paid female recording
artist of all time. Around the same time, she was trying to
create a concept for her fifth album, and had suffered clinical
depression. The result was a dark, self-revealing project, The
Velvet Rope (1997). In September 1997, the album's lead single,
"Got 'Til It's Gone" was released. The single sampled the Joni
Mitchell classic, "Big Yellow Taxi" and featured a guest spot by
Jackson returned with a new image, which included piercing, and tattoos, one of which, the Sankofa, an Akan symbol meaning, we must go back and reclaim our past so we can move forward, was featured on the inside of her wrist.
Fans were taken aback by the album's content. Songs dealing with domestic abuse, depression, low self-esteem, isolation, and S&M, made up the bulk of the album's content. Velvet Rope's cover, shot by photographer Ellen von Unwerth, featured Janet with her head down, in a defeated-like pose, with only the word, Janet, glazed over top of the image. Many speculated stories behind the songs, but Jackson has remained quiet. Rope became her fourth number-one album on the Billboard 200. In 1998, Jackson set out on a world tour, The Velvet Rope Tour, hitting Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia.
The album yielded a total of four hit singles. The second single "Together Again", an upbeat, musical tribute to her friends who had died of AIDS, became a hit. A portion of the sales from the single, were donated to AIDS research. The funky, "Go Deep", and "I Get Lonely", were both successful. The last single, "Every Time", produced a stunning music video, with Jackson being filmed underwater.
As her world tour in 1999 came to a close, Janet Jackson guest-vocaled on songs, "Luv Me, Luv Me," with Shaggy, for the How Stella Got Her Groove Back soundtrack, and the Grammy-nominated, "What's It Gonna Be," with Busta Rhymes. Jackson also contributed vocals on the Blackstreet song, "Girlfriend/Boyfriend," and dueted with Elton John for the song, "I Know The Truth." With her newfound exposure to Hip Hop, Jackson toyed with the idea of doing a full album focusing musically on the genre. As 1999 ended Billboard Magazine ranked Jackson as the second most successful artist of the 1990s, behind Mariah Carey.
In mid-2000, Jackson returned to the big screen, with her second film, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, with Eddie Murphy. Jackson also contributed to film's soundtrack with the hit, "Doesn't Really Matter." During this period, the public learned of Jackson's secret longtime marriage to Rene Elizondo. The couple announced that they were separating.
In March 2001 Janet Jackson was awarded a top honor American Music Award 'Award of Merit,' and was named MTV's first 'Icon', which resulted in performances featuring Destiny's Child, N'Sync, Christina Aguilera, Usher, Britney Spears and others.
I'm 'bout to change my vibe. Today the sun's gon' shine. 'Cause I made up my mind that today will be the start of better days. Leavin' old sh.. behind and move on with my life. The blindfold's off my eyes and now all I see for me is better days.
Shortly after, Janet Jackson's seventh album, All for You, was released in that same year. The album's number-one title track helped the album debut at number one, her fifth, in its first week of sales with more than 605,000 copies sold in the U.S. All for You would go on to sell more than three million copies in America, and spawned the Billboard hit "Someone To Call My Lover". By the end of the year, All for You won Jackson her fifth Grammy Award.
In 2001, Rene Elizondo later sued Jackson for spousal support. Their court battle ended in 2003 with the divorce finalized and Elizondo receiving half the multi-million dollar pay-off he was hoping for.
After scoring a top forty single with "Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song is About You)" featuring Carly Simon, the last off the album, remixed by rapper Missy Elliot, and performing her concert All for You Tour in Hawaii in 2002, she collaborated with reggae singer Beenie Man on the song "Feel It Boy." Jackson began working on her next album the following year, and accepted an invitation to join that following year's Super Bowl festivities.
In 2002, Janet Jackson began a relationship with hip-hop producer Jermaine Dupri.
Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction".During the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII on February 1, 2004, Jackson performed with Justin Timberlake to a live audience of more than one hundred million people. During the performance, Jackson sang along with Timberlake on his song "Rock Your Body". When Timberlake sang the lyric "gonna have you naked by the end of this song," he tore open Jackson's top; exposing her right breast, which was partially covered by a nipple shield. Timberlake called the incident a "wardrobe malfunction." Jackson apologized, calling it an accident and that Timberlake was supposed to pull away the bustier and leave the red-lace bra intact; however, she later said to an interviewer for Genre magazine that she wishes she had not apologized at all.
CBS, the NFL, and MTV (then one of CBS's corporate siblings), which produced the halftime show, denied all responsibility under a hail of controversy. Jackson and Timberlake confirmed those denials, but the FCC continued an investigation. As a result, CBS invited Jackson to appear at the 2004 Grammy Awards ceremony to make another public apology. She declined, but Justin Timberlake apologized and appeared as both a performer and a presenter.
Jermaine Dupri, Jackson's boyfriend, left his post on the Grammy Awards committee after Jackson refused to apologize again for what happened at the Super Bowl. Since 2004, there have been rumors that the couple married, though they have constantly denied these reports. Dupri appeared in Jackson's video for "I Want You", while Jackson returned the favor by appearing in Dupri's video for his 2005 single, "Gotta Getcha".
In April 2004 Janet Jackson released her eighth studio effort, Damita Jo, with a debut at number two and opening week sales of nearly 400,000 copies. The songs released from the album, including the Prince-inspired "Just a Little While," the Motown/Supremes-inspired ballad "I Want You," and "All Nite (Don't Stop)," also performed modestly on the charts. Jackson described the album as a portrait of the many personalities living inside her. Damita Jo sold over three million copies world wide and received nominations from the American Music Awards, Billboard Awards, Source Music Awards, BET Music Awards and Grammy Awards including Contemporary R&B Album of the Year.
We're vulnerable. We're sensitive and we're complicated people too. So many people rolled into one. We contain so much. So much creativity. So much energy. So many contradictions. So much confusion. So much clarity. So many moments of faith and fear. So many different characters live within us. All looking for love.
Jackson appeared as a host on Saturday Night Live on April 10, 2004, where she performed a skit that parodied the Super Bowl incident. Jackson also appeared in the sitcom Will & Grace playing herself as Jack auditioned to be her back-up dancer.
On June 15, 2005, Janet was awarded a Humanitarian Award by the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay, lesbian, bis--ual, and transgender civil rights organization on behalf of her work and involvement in raising money for AIDS charities. She accepted the award saying, "what I've learned in these recent months is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it's real, it's a beautiful light that both comforts our minds and strengthens our souls. Tonight my heart is filled with gratitude for that light. I'm so grateful that prayers are answered, that faith is rewarded and tolerance is celebrated as a virtue. I'm grateful that God is of unconditional love."
Janet Jackson is currently preparing to release her ninth album, scheduled for a September 26, 2006 release. Jermaine Dupri, one of the executive producers, said the new album would be titled 20 Years Old, a nod to the 20th anniversary of Control, and references to how old Jackson "currently feels". Janet Jackson officially changed the title of the album to 20 Y.O. after a fans suggestion during the "Design Me" contest to design a cover for a limited release.
On May 1, 2006, Jackson revealed a remade song, "Weekend," on her official website, along with a message stating that she had finished working on 20 Y.O.. The next day, Jackson left a new message saying that "Weekend" would not appear on 20 Y.O., and that the first single "Call on Me", a duet with Nelly, would be released on June 19, 2006. The single eventually premiered on Z100 radio on June 17, 2006. It was reported that a tour in support of the album is being planned.
Jackson celebrated her 40th birthday on May 16, 2006, with a birthday bash at Shereen Arazms Shag in Los Angeles. Many of her former dancers attended. Jackson was serenaded by singer Stevie Wonder.
In May 2006, Janet Jackson was quoted saying, "I love this album, and I hate to say, 'expect an album that you'll love' – which I just said, but I love this, so hopefully everyone else will enjoy it ... and it's different, it's a little reminiscent, yet it's new and fresh." Jackson's appeared on the cover of Us Weekly in June 2006 and it became the magazine's best selling issue ever, beating issues with Angelina Jolie and Jessica Simpson on the cover.
On July 11, 2006, in a live radio interview on Los Angeles radio station Power 106, Jackson, along with producer Jermaine Dupri, revealed that a show is being planned where Jackson would perform only songs from the Control album in celebration of its twentieth anniversary. No specific date was given. Dupri has also revealed that Jackson will have her own reality show, via her official MySpace page, although he did not specifically say what it will be based on.
On July 18, 2006, Janet launched a contest giving fans an opportunity to create the artwork for her ninth studio album 20 Y.O. The Design Me contest requires participants to download images of Janet, create proposed album covers, and to post the creations on the contest page. Janet hand-picked dozens of images, new and old, to be used in the contest. Janet is now selecting her top four favorites, which will be used for the first one million copies of 20 Y.O.
Jermiane Dupri also stated that "So Excited" will be the second single from 20 Y.O. On July 31, 2006, in a live appearance on the BET show 106 & Park, Jackson revealed that she plans to release a fitness book and video, detailing how she has lost weight.
In 1977, 11-year-old Jackson's enthusiasm for acting caught television producer Norman Lear's ear. Lear was looking for someone to reawaken one of his shows from TV ruin - the family sitcom Good Times. Lear cast Jackson in Good Times as an abused child named Penny Gordon Woods. The show's star, J.J. Evans, played by Jimmie Walker, was the apple of Penny's eye on the show, a fact the character would make known every time she saw him. Jackson became one of the show's cast members during the 1977-1978 season, and would remain in the show until it was canceled in 1979.
Janet Jackson continued her acting career, appearing briefly in a short-lived but Emmy Award nominated sitcom titled A New Kind of Family which also starred Rob Lowe, but was cancelled in early 1980. In 1981, she landed a recurring role on another sitcom, Diff'rent Strokes, playing Charlene Duprey, the love interest of Willis (played by Todd Bridges). In 1984 Jackson reluctantly took the role of Cleo Hewitt in the musical series, Fame. She later told interviewers that her father told her to do the role. After a year, Jackson asked to be let out of her contract and did not appear in another television series for nineteen years.
Janet Jackson was given a chance to resume her acting career when director John Singleton allowed her to audition for his film Poetic Justice, as a tough, poetic hairdresser from South Central, Los Angeles. Jackson won the role in the romantic drama, starring opposite rapper Tupac Shakur. The film opened at No. 1 in 1993, and depicted a different image of Jackson than what had been seen before; her character cursed and even threatened people who ever crossed her. This coincided with a change in Jackson's music as she entered the studio to record her fifth album, whose music was brashed and more s--ually charged than her previous work. The movie grossed $27 million in the US.
In 2000 Janet Jackson starred with Eddie Murphy in Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, the film grossed $142.7 million at the box office. Jackson recorded a single for the film's soundtrack, "Doesn't Really Matter", which reached number-one on the Billboard pop charts, earning a gold disc. She was paid $3 million for Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, and paid an extra $1 million for the song "Doesn't Really Matter" for the film's soundtrack.
In 2006, Jackson was prepared to play the lead in the Lee Daniels' film, Tennessee, but due to scheduling conflicts, Jackson dropped out and the lead was recast with Mariah Carey. Jackson, who had been learning guitar and had gained weight for the role, said in an interview in 2006, that she and Daniels plan to work on a film project again in the near future.
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