January 27, 2022
Photo by: Noam Galai/Stringer
She’s always been in control!
In 2022, Janet Jackson is still demonstrating the “Control” that made her a global phenomenon nearly 50-years ago.
Janet Jackson, a two-night, four-part documentary airing on Lifetime and A&E (Friday and Saturday at 8/7c), was executive produced by the beloved artist and her brother Randy.
“It’s just something that needs to be done,” Janet, 55, said while filming the opening scene in her hometown of Gary, Indiana. When she discovered a mural of five of her brothers on a neighborhood wall, she began to cry.
While Jackson has been one of music’s most notoriously private and enigmatic people, she is set to reveal more about her personal life and career with a sincere approach.
As fans get closer to getting inside the legend’s world, we talked with the only college professor teaching a Janet Jackson course. At Goucher College in Towson, MD, students can enroll in: On Janet Jackson: Race, Gender, and Being in Control.
We asked Professor Phill Branch why he started the media studies course, and he was not shy about being a Janet fan since childhood!
“I started as a fan and as a fan, what I think is important to see is that you see someone being themselves and doing what they love and someone who doesn’t seem to isolate segments of the audience right? Janet always seems to be an artist who women liked, who men liked, who young kids liked, who white people liked. She was universal right.”
He continued, saying that ability was appealing and the connection was important.
“But then when you think about it from a social and global standpoint, what does it take for black women to kind of have that appeal?” Branch asked.
From Janet’s defiance in shunning her father’s management to relaunching her music career; her elopement with R&B singer James DeBarge and their alleged secret child; and a clandestine marriage to dancer René Elizondo Jr., everything will now be revealed and addressed early on.
It’s no secret that the “Rhythm Nation” singer has been a powerful force in the industry – she grew to become one of the most iconic female pop artists of all time.
There haven’t been many examples of Black females artists being in total control of their career. But, Janet did and she influenced generations.
“We often isolate people as a success, as if they could do it in their own right. What we know as Black people is that there are so many barriers to success,” he said. “The fact that you get to be the Jacksons didn’t come easy, right? You had to go through some things and that goes for any superstar that we know. Especially coming up in that era that they came up in. There are so many barriers socially within the labels and everything else. So, for them to be able to make music, that has sort of a cultural black field to it like it wasn’t watered down.”
Being that the 55-year-old Pop Diva is such a prominent figure in Black culture, the new Janet Jackson documentary will have an immense impact on the community.
“What I’ve been really excited about in the last couple of years in terms of the Black culture and Black people’s relationship with Janet is that we have shown up for her in the last, you know, five years, or so,” Branch added. “Like very publicly, and I think social media has been an important part of that to sort of reclaim her legacy and say we can decide who our icons are. We don’t need other people to say.”
While a Janet Jackson documentary is long overdue, according to Professor Branch, its highly anticipated airing will give the world a glimpse of who she is in front of millions of fans and also during the quiet moments.
Branch said the culture will love on Janet this weekend, and she will receive her flowers!
What do you think? Will the Janet Jackson documentary be a unifying moment for the culture? Share your thoughts below.