Janet Jackson Biography
Janet Jackson is an American artist, actress, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She was born Janet Damita Jo Jackson on May 16, 1966, in Gary, Indiana, USA.
She started schooling at Lanai Road Elementary School in Encino, before proceeding to Portola Middle School in Tarzana, both in Los Angeles, California. She then joined Valley Professional School, also in Los Angeles, California, where she successfully graduated in 1984.
Janet Jackson interest and involvement in the entertainment field began very early in concurrence with her school education. Her first public performance was at the tender age of seven, at a casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. That was followed by starring as a child in several TV shows that included Good Times, A New Kind Of Family, Different Strokes, and Fame.
In 1982 at the age of sixteen, Janet Jackson released her first album Janet Jackson under a contract her father, the legendary Joe Jackson, arranged with A&M Records. The debut album was fairly successful featuring at No. 63 on the Billboard 200 and propelled her to the highest ranking African American vocalist on the Billboard.
She released her second album Dream Street under the same label in 1984. The album peaked at No. 147 on the Billboard 200.
After her second album, Janet Jackson made dramatic change in her business affairs, curtailing her business links with her father who had hitherto been her manager. Inferring from her own narrations, she just wanted to be independent.
It was also after declaring personal independence, Janet Jackson made real breakthrough into fame and wealth as a world class artist, with release of her third album Control in 1986. Still under the A&M Records contract, Janet released the album in collaboration with two producers, namely, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The album was an instant success, becoming No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and selling over 10 million copies worldwide. Top singles in the album included What Have You Done For Me Lately, Nasty, Control, and When I Think Of You.
Janet Jackson released her fourth album Rhythm Nation 1814 in 1989. Unlike the third album that centered around her decision to operate independently from her family hence what could be said her pursuance of personal freedom, the fourth album addressed broader societal issues like crime, social injustice, illiteracy, drug addiction, among others. Her aim was probably to use her then very popular music to influence positive change in the USA and the world at large.
Rhythm Nation 1814 album was very successfully indeed. It sold over 12 million copies worldwide and attained No. 1 position on the Billboard 200. The album included great top singles like Escapade, Come Back To Me, Miss You Much, Rhythm Nation, etc. The album is also said to have had tremendous cultural impact and made Janet Jackson a powerful role model for young people in the USA and beyond.
After releasing four albums under the label of A&M Records, Janet Jackson moved on and signed a lucrative recording contract with Virgin Records in 1991. She released her fifth album Janet under the new label in 1993.
The fifth album consolidated her undisputed status as a top pop artist, selling over 14 million copies worldwide, and making it to No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Top singles in the album included Any Time Any Place, That's The Way Love Goes, Again, and Because Of Love. The album is said to have her sexual maturity. It also marked the beginning of Janet Jackson's leading role in writing lyrics and production of her albums.
Janet Jackson released her sixth album The Velvet Rope in 1997. The album got to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 10 million copies worldwide.
Her seventh album All For You was released in 2001. Like most of previous albums, All For You attained No. 1 position on the Billboard 200. It sold 9 million copies worldwide.
Janet Jackson's eighth album Damila Jo was released in 2004. It was less successful than many of her previous albums, featuring at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and selling only over 3 million copies worldwide. The rather poor performance of the album may, however, had nothing to do with its musical quality, but rather unreasonable and unfair negative public image about Janet Jackson portrayed by some major music and broadcasting companies following a simple incident at Janet Jackson's 2004 Super Bowl XXXVIII performance in which one of her breast's nipple was revealed on stage as her co-performer Justin Timberlake accidentally ripped open her trendy attire.
The companies took advantage of the incident to blacklist and boycott her music thereafter for years, despite her sincere apology that what happened was not intended but an accident caused by wardrobe malfunction. One wonders why such a minor one-off incident generated so much public backlash especially considering all the numerous invaluable great things Janet Jackson had delivered to society over the previous years through her music and in films. Prejudice probably, some have argued, coupled with society's general lack of gratitude and appreciation to those who help make it a better place!
Notwithstanding, however, the incident did stop Janet Jackson from progressing with music career. She released her ninth album 20 Y.O. in 2006. It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard and sold 1.2 million copies worldwide.
After the ninth album, Janet Jackson concluded her contract with Virgin Records and signed with Island Records. Nevertheless, she released only one album under the new label, her tenth album Discipline released in 2008.
In 2015 Janet Jackson launched her own record production company called Rhythm Nation and released her eleventh album Unbreakable. A powerful business move by Janet Jackson that must have generated a massive blow to those companies that have been sabotaging her music!
With more than 100 million records sold worldwide, Janet Jackson's musical career performance has, indeed, been phenomenal. In recognition of this immense contribution to the music industry, she has been honored with more than 170 world class awards. They include among others the following:
1) A star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
2) 5 Grammy Awards
3) 11 American Music Awards
4) 12 Billboard Awards including the prestigious Billboard Icon Award (May 20, 2018)
5) 9 MTV Video Music Awards including MTV's Video Vanguard Award
6) 9 Guinness World Records
7) 13 Soul Train Music Awards
As an actress, Janet Jackson as indicated earlier in this biography, has had humble beginning that entails some child roles in some Television shows. Her breakthrough to leading roles in films could be argued to have occurred with her big milestones in her music career. In other words, her extra-ordinary music career had very positive impacts on her acting career.
She made her first appearance in a film in 1993 when she starred in Poetic Justice. She also provided a song, Again, for the film's soundtrack. Her second film appearance followed in 2000, starring along the legendary Eddie Murphy in Nutty Professor II: The Klumps. Again, she provided her song, Doesn't Really Matter, for the film's soundtrack. In 2007 she starred in her third film Why Did I Get Married? alongside Tyler Perry. In 2010, she starred in two films, namely Why Did I Get Married Too? and For Colored Girls.
As regards entrepreneurship, Janet Jackson's main ventures so far include record production through her own company, Rhythm Nation, that was mentioned previously. She is also engaged in film production, as well as sponsorship deals.
In addition to her career endeavors, Janet Jackson is a staunch philanthropist. Her passion for philanthropy is said to have influenced or even shaped the her music or at least some songs. She supports many charities, including among others the following.
1) AIDS LIFE
2) American Foundation for AIDS Research