Janet Jackson Biography
Through words and actions, she has set an example of generosity, of empowerment, of tolerance, and helped to lead efforts addressing some of society's greatest challenges. Born Janet Damita Jo Jackson in Gary, Indiana she has accumulated the success and the stature to be addressed by just her first name, Janet.
Janet began her career at the young age of seven when she appeared at the MGM in Las Vegas with her family in 1973. This debut and her appearances beginning at the age of nine on her family’s variety show, The Jacksons, lead her to starring and supporting roles on hit sitcoms such as Good Times, Diff’rent Strokes and Fame.
At fourteen she signed her first recording deal and launched the career that would change the history and direction of performance art and music. Her first two albums Janet Jackson and Dream Street were just the beginning. Placing acting on the back burner Janet was able to focus on her passion for music. It wasn’t until her third album Control (1986) that she began to break records and set standards.
Control brought Janet into the collaborative mix of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. A relationship that created a musical fusion of pop, r&b, soul, dance, jazz, rock and rap that continues today. The new feisty sound of Janet brought accolades and praise that had not been seen before and cemented her in music history. Control won four American Music Awards out of twelve nominations -a record that she still holds-and was nominated for an Album of the Year Grammy. Control was influential in launching the musical sounds of new jack swing and expanding and developing the art of music video performance.
Her fourth album Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 took a new look at musical integrity and the responsibilities an artist has to the audience. “I just want my music and my dance to catch the audience’s attention, and to hold it long enough for them to listen to the lyrics and what we’re saying,” said Janet of the new direction. Rhythm Nation 1814 was a socially conscious driven album that focused on the changes or lack there of occurring in society. The album’s lyrical content targeted injustice, illiteracy, crime, drugs, and racial intolerance all of which was done to a slamming beat that kept audiences intrigued and dancing. Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 is the only album ever to launch number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in three separate calendar years “Rhythm Nation” (1989), “Miss You Much,” (1989) “Escapade” (1990), “Black Cat” (1990), and “Love will Never Do (Without You)” (1991). It also brought Janet her first Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video for “Rhythm Nation 1814.”
In 1993 Janet released her fifth album janet. which immediately shot to number one and reinvented Janet Jackson into Janet (period). Control was about growing up, Rhythm Nation 1814 looked at social responsibility and janet. unleashed a sexual being with adult lyrics and swinging beats. The album became notorious and will forever hold a place in history for it’s Rolling Stone cover shot of a topless Janet. janet. brought her a second Grammy Award for the single “That’s the Way Love Goes” and her first Golden Globe and Academy Award Nomination for the ballad “Again” which was featured in the film Poetic Justice. Poetic Justice relaunched Janet’s foray into acting and placed her in her first feature film role. She starred opposite Regina King and hip hop sensation Tupac Shakur.
Celebrating ten years following the release of her ground-breaking album, "Control," Design of a Decade featured hits from Control, Rhythm Nation 1814, janet., and two previously unreleased songs, "Runaway" and "Twenty Foreplay."
Janet followed with The Velvet Rope, which continued her emotional exploration through music. Lyrically raw and filled with internal reflection the album is considered to be Janet’s most introspective work that illustrates the ins and outs of her private thoughts, dreams and desires.
In the box office smash, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Janet made her second feature film appearance as Denise Gaines, opposite Academy Award Nominee Eddie Murphy. Nutty Professor II became her second film to open at number one at the box office. Her seventh album “All for You” came out the following year and Janet received another Grammy for Best Dance Recording.
A chameleon of performance Janet is widely known and admired for award winning music videos. Janet is the only artist having Grammy nominations spanning the Dance, Pop, Rap, Rock, and R&B categories. She has accumulate 5 Grammy’s, multiple MTV Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and Soul Train Music Awards to name a few. A highly regarded performer, her concerts are stunning shows that stimulate the mind, eyes, and the soul. Intense choreography skilled to perfection have been synonymous with Janet.
In 2001 MTV presented Janet with the inaugural mtvICON Award solidifying her accomplishments and affect on pop culture. Musical artists such as Destiny’s Child, NSYNC, Outkast, Usher and Pink were enlisted to recreate the music videos and performances of her classic hits in honor of her work, influence and overall impact in the arena of music. The title of ICON was and continues to be hers.
Always, self examining and open, Janet throws herself into every album. Her eighth studio album Damito Jo explored the extremes of sexuality. Janet followed up with 20 Y.O. which reunited her with long time collaborators Jam/Lewis and brought in producer Jermaine Dupri to add an extra edge to the album. 20 Y.O. celebrated her 20 years in the music industry and referenced back to the music that was created on Control, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814, and janet.
Janet’s third feature film, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?, in which she starred opposite Tyler Perry. Janet received an Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a feature motion picture. The film was yet another number one opener at the box office. Shortly after the films release she put out her tenth studio album Discipline, which reflected upon her personal battle with “discipline.” As one of the defining aspects of her career Janet addresses the word, the meaning, and it’s affect on her as an artist and a person.
Janet's tenth studio album, Discipline, again served as a forum for Janet to reveal more about herself. "“The album expresses what I need to express at this moment of my life,” she says. “It says that discipline, rather than being a problem, can bring pleasure. Discipline is a key to freedom. Discipline allows me—allows all of us—to focus. And the focus must be on thoughts and feelings that nourish our physical and spiritual lives."
Janet supported the Discipline album with her fifth concert tour—the Rock Witchu Tour. Described as a "high-voltage performance," Janet proved again her status as the consummate performer, providing fans with an extravaganza featuring all of her hits, non-stop choreography and a cutting-edge production.
Janet continues to focus on speaking out and giving back. Several of her tours have raised money for charities such as the Cities in Schools, and America's Promise. She has supported the Watts Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club of America, the Starlight Foundation, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, A Place Called Home providing after school programs in South Central LA, the American Foundation for AIDS Research, S.O.S. Children's Villages in South Africa, Cartier's Love Bracelet Program benefiting OCNA and sponsored an Airlift of Food and Medical supplies to famine-stricken Rwanda. Janet established the Rhythm Nation Scholarship with the UNCF and has assisted countless students striving to meet their educational goals.
She has been honored with many Humanitarian Awards due to her intense dedication to helping others. Recent honors reflecting the range of her involvement in charitable and social causes include the 2008 Humanitarian of the Year award from the Lisa Lopes Foundation, the 2008 Vanguard Award from GLAAD, and the 2004 Touching a Life Humanitarian and Philanthropic Award from the NBA. Janet's efforts have also been recognized by AIDS Project LA, the Congress for Racial Equality, and by the NAACP with their Chairman's Award.
Later this year, Janet will publish her first book, providing an intimate look at her life and how she has dealt with issues of self-esteem. Janet will reveal aspects not known before about her uniquely successful career not only in music but in television and motion pictures.
The next months and new year will also bring another film starring Janet as she joins Tyler Perry in his sequel, Why Did I Get Married Too, followed by a new album slated to released during the first quarter of 2010.
Summarizing her career and her incredibly raw albums, Janet has said, “Here I am. I’m coming on. Musically, I have it. You want it. And I’m giving it to you.” Continuing her growth as an artist and as a person Janet intriguingly states, “I’m proud to have stayed in the game and survived. And I’m proud that I’ve remained true to myself. But if you go back and listen to the music, you’ll hear how that self is always changing.”