Janet Jackson is the rhythm of a nation of women who she has inspired over her four decade long career in entertainment. She is a living legend. From her acting and singing roots in the 1970s as the youngest of the famous Jackson clan to her grown and infectious music in the new millennium, Janet continues to awe the world again and again with her talent. When the small screen could no longer contain her star quality (“Jackson Family”, “Good Times”, “Different Strokes”, and “Fame”), Jackson proved herself as a solo recording artist. With the guidance of super producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Jackson gained pop superstar status in the music world with her albums Control and the consecutive Rhythm Nation in the late 1980s. She is ranked as one of the best-selling contemporary artist in the history of music. Although music is at the soul of her career, Ms. Jackson has blessed the big screen starring in feature films Poetic Justice, Nutty Professor II, Why Did I Get Married, Why Did I Get Married Too, and For Colored Girls. And the beat goes on. In the fall of 2015, Janet Jackson released Unbreakable the album and is currently on her Unbreakable World Tour. With a myriad of accolades, awards, and honors for her unprecedented contributions of dance, vocal performance, and acting, Janet Jackson has been an exceptional embodiment of a mega talent.
“There are artists, true performers that have come before me who have been a big inspiration to me. I hope I do the same for others.” – Janet Jackson
Through her dedication to her craft, Janet Jackson created a platform for young women much like herself to become just as undeniably brilliant. Ciara, Tinashe, and Teyana Taylor are all basking in the path that Janet paved, respectfully. Trailblazers in their own right these performers pay homage to Janet Jackson, as they know without her there may have been no them. Taking notes from Janet Jackson the icon, they have visions of becoming just as renowned.
Ciara, referred to as the “princess of pop” is often compared to Janet Jackson for her mind-blowing dance moves. Her soft melodic voice is also akin to Jackson’s vocal style. Ciara does acknowledge the comparison, while always humbly stating that she looks up to Jackson as a model of greatness.
“I just have so much respect for her. She truly is to me, the best to ever do it when it comes to entertainment,” Ciara expressed in an interview with Noisey Music by Vice.
Very much reminiscent of a young Janet Jackson, breakout performer Tinashe is following in the footsteps of her predecessor. Striving for the Janet Jackson archetypal, although over 20 years her junior, Tinashe has always known Ms. Jackson was the one to study close. In an interview with The Cut, Tinashe expressed her adoration for Janet.
“I listened to her all the time growing up, and she was definitely one of the people I idolized from a dance perspective, to performance, to music videos, to the music, just all around.”
Definitely channeling Janet Jackson’s sexy and sultry aura, Teyana Taylor is reviving the hotness that Janet slayed so sensually. She embodies the “I’m fly and you know it” spirit of Janet while continuing to work fearlessly as a gifted young artist in this beast called entertainment. Serving up her Harlem raw straightforward thoughts, Teyana explained her unlikely connection to Janet Jackson’s work in an interview with Fader Magazine.
“I feel like my music does not match my style. You see the J’s, you see the big hair, the snapbacks and the Bulls jerseys and I think everybody expects me to be, like, rapping. But it’s just like, dude; I’m actually an old ass lady.” She continues on that, “Janet and Aaliyah are two of my biggest inspirations. Musically, Aaliyah gave you that young vibe that girls can relate to, and Janet gave you that grown-woman sexy.”
The test of time is the ultimate measure of an icon and legend. Janet Jackson, always flawless and full of grace has surpassed the goal. Women young and old can definitely admire the influence she has had on females in the arts.
EGL salutes Janet Jackson!
By Tawana C. Coleman