Superstar opens but still under control

Believe all the hype about Lifetime and the A&E “Janet Jackson” two-night special. It’s truly a side of global superstardom that the public has never seen before, including revealing never-before-seen footage of her life. The “Ms. Jackson if you nasty” the singer was a unicorn in the music industry as her stardom spanned the 1970s but is still valid today, a fact backed by success. on social media of her recent Allure cover magazine. It’s impossible to overstate what Janet Jackson represents as a woman and a woman of color in the music industry and the entertainment industry in general, especially in 2022. Standing is one thing, but must be. say gold. And Janet Jackson has plenty of tea to spill.

For all the celebrities who appear in “Janet Jackson,” this particular one is surprisingly very well-founded. A lot of the issues in her life will make a big splash – as an adult and on her father’s side, emerging from the shadow of her brothers and family, falling in love with a drug addict, the ups and downs of her life. marriage and divorce, recognized for her. contribute. While none of us can relate to Jackson’s life as a superstar, she has struggled on her way to becoming one of the house of fame.

On the first night of episodes made available to critics ahead of Friday’s premiere, Jackson managed to please those who’ve watched her for most of her career, while also introducing her own version of the film. familiar with younger audiences may be less familiar. That story begins in Gary, Indiana, in a small family home of nine children with a mother and father who both work hard to make ends meet. And Janet is the youngest of them all. With real confidence and understanding, she shares how deeply rooted her story was in those humble beginnings and the cast that her brothers – Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and of course, Michael – gaining as Jackson 5 allowed them to get away with it. But none of that, she insisted, wouldn’t have been possible without her father.

Before there was a Richard Williams, played by Will Smith in “King Richard” as the controversial patriarch who propelled his daughters Venus and Serena to tennis superstardom, there was Joe. Jackson, who has created an unmatched feat in the music industry. Joe Jackson’s notorious rigor, she makes clear, comes not just from love but from his experience as a black father responsible for raising nine grown children in a difficult city. towel. Her brother, manager, and colleague, series producer Randy, notes that all of his childhood friends from Gary are dead or imprisoned driving home because Her father doesn’t feel he has the luxury of being a “Leave it to the Beaver” or “My Model of the Three Sons”. Some have compared Joe’s aggressive treatment of his children as a manager and father to the young Janet on the late ’70s sitcom Good Times. as Penny, an abused child – but his famous daughter accuses him of being mean. (However, at one point she admitted that he blocked her college plans so she could focus on her music career, which he also played a heavy role in.) in early development).

Because the leader of the “Rhythm Nation” rarely addressed the issue of race in such a personal way, she recounted her own nasty racial escapades as an afflicted child. heavy. Seen from a modern lens, it seems unthinkable that whites in Encino, California, would actively oppose the Jackson family, the American superstars, moving into their neighborhood completely. all because of their race. The same goes for her blatantly racist experience in school, when her white classmates rub her skin to see if her skin color disappears or touch her hair. because it’s too different from theirs or not.

The fact that she talked about her first marriage to James DeBarge, who hailed from another DeBarge family group, was another surprise. It is difficult to recall many or any instances in which she openly shared the amount of money his drug addiction took on her and the impact it had on her work on the show. TV show “Fame” and more. She also frankly denied rumors that the two had a secret child before their marriage broke up in 1985 after just over a year.

James DeBarge was also interviewed, sharing details about the brief union in a way that made Janet’s account even more powerful. Other members of Janet’s family are also involved – including sister Rebbie, brother Tito and mother Katherine – giving this four-part archive a real sense of lively intimacy.

She’s also opened up about her career challenges, especially in emerging from the sizable shadow of her superstar brother Michael – whose over-popularity and negative media attention… she mentioned in the second night of the series. Janet Jackson makes it clear that she’s been on her own, starting from her days working in Las Vegas as a child and as an adult, writing her own music and being the architect of her career and vision. See her own creation. But she also acknowledges the roles of many of her collaborators — including ex-husband and longtime creative director René Elizondo Jr., producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, choreographer Paula Abdul and more.

The walls inevitably fall in “Janet Jackson.” Although she has complete control over the topics discussed and the details shared, her management is still spot on. By going deeper than we’ve seen before, she masters the entire TV show, giving audiences what they’ve been watching while also leaving them wanting more.

“Janet Jackson” airs in two parts on January 28 and January 29 on A&E and Lifetime. Superstar opens but still under control

Curtis Crabtree

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