When Janet Jackson was the youngest born into a family of nine talented children, she had to be able to sing or dance or something. Thankfully, she didn’t disappoint, holding her own from the very start.
Everyone knows her big brother Michael Jackson had the singing chops, but she wasn’t quick to follow his lead. Rather than hit the stage like her big brothers in the Jackson 5, she chose to rock with Hollywood and the small screen. During her childhood, Jackson played the role of Penny in the television series Good Times and Diff’rent Strokes just a few years later. Acting was in her blood, but when the time came to perform musically, Jackson delivered — over and over again. The magic really began with her third studio album, Control, when she began working with writing and production team Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
Only a few years in the game at that point and she had catapulted herself into iconic status, which further helped with albums like Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 and The Velvet Rope. She’s earned five Grammy awards, climbed to the top of the Billboard 200 and earned countless No. 1 songs. Now she has a J. Cole-assisted new single, “No Sleeep,” the Unbreakable World Tour hitting cities near and far and a forthcoming 11th studio album, Unbreakable. But besides her musical achievements, there’s more to her story.
We don’t think there’s a person on this planet that doesn’t love Ms. Jackson. The stans may adore every song she releases and the moves she makes, but we can guarantee there’s at least one thing they’re clueless about when it comes to her personal life and career. Check out 25 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Janet Jackson.
In 1975, a prepubescent Janet Jackson sashayed across the American Music Awards stage to present an award with her big brother Michael Jackson.
In 2011, Jackson told Piers Morgan that she thought her father Joseph meant well in his staunch discipline but “the way that he went about certain things, wasn’t the best way but it got the job done.” Still, she acknowledged that they aren’t close.
The singer couldn’t recall where she met her then-boyfriend Jermaine Dupri during an interview o BET’s ‘106 & Park in 2004. She believed it to be at her Rhythm Nation concert.
She also revealed on ‘106 & Park’ that she has an alter-ego named Strawberry that “comes out from time to time” and she “doesn’t wear much.”
Janet Jackson has an undying love for animals. In 1986, she told Ebony Magazine that she learned how to ride horses at age 5.
During her time working with Malik Yoba, her on-screen husband in the film ‘Why Did I Get Married,’ she got spanked by the thespian. “I just said, ‘Janet, are you cool with this?’ And she said ‘Sure…,'” he told ‘The Real’ in March.
In 2010, Jackson told Extra that she would genuinely consider remaking one of her brother Michael’s tracks.
Once during an ‘Unscripted’ interview conducted by Tyler Perry, Jackson admitted to being unable to multitask. “I’ve always been the kind of person that likes to put all my energy and all my focus into one project at a time,” she revealed.
Did you know that Janet Jackson approves of Kendrick Lamar’s song “Poetic Justice” even though she never appeared in the video? Not only does she approve of the track that samples “Any Time, Any Place,” she told Billboard in 2013 that she’s totally enamored with it. “I have listened to the music that is out there and I love Kendrick’s ‘Poetic Justice,'” she said. “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.”
In that same interview, the singer shared that there are two other modern artists she’s a fan of: Adele and Bruno Mars. “I’m really enjoying what [they] are doing, a lot of artistry there.”
One thing about the Jackson clan is that the rules rarely applied to them. You know how you had to wait until age 18 to hit the club? Not Janet. In 1993, she told Rolling Stone what led up to her first visit. “I was 10 when Michael went off to make ‘The Wiz.’ That was traumatic. He was my best friend, and I couldn’t stand the thought of his leaving. I cried my eyes out and begged mother to take me to visit him in New York. He was living with LaToya in a beautiful apartment. I remember, when we arrived, he took me over to the stereo and put on ‘How Deep Is Your Love,’ by the Bee Gees. Funny how you remember moments like that. I was entranced. That same night, I went to my first nightclub, Studio 54, and I was down for all the dancing.”
Sly and the Family Stone’s “Hot Fun in the Summertime” is one of the “greatest musical influences” in her life, along with the Turtles’ “Happy Together,” the Association’s “Windy” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Feelin’ Groovy.”
Madonna doesn’t seem to be a Janet Jackson fan. Pror to the Material Girl’s Super Bowl halftime performance in 2012, she threw major shade in Jackson’s direction regarding her 2004 wardrobe malfunction at the event. When NY1 asked Madonna about possible “naughty surprises,” she said, “I have not mainstreamed and I’m not planning anything naughty. I’m planning something super entertaining. Yep, yep! You don’t have to show nipples to be interesting and it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re cutting edge if you do right?”
In 1986, Janet Jackson told Don Cornelius, host of the show ‘Soul Train,’ that it was a secret she knew how to play the keyboard.
With such a big family, it shouldn’t surprise you that the “The Pleasure Principle” singer has much more holiday shopping to accomplish than most people. Jackson has more than 25 nieces and nephews.
In 2006, she sat with Billboard and outlined the albums she felt were the highlights of her catalog: ‘Control,’ ‘All for You,’ ‘janet.’ and ‘Rhythm Nation 1814.’
She enjoys being a fly on the wall. The ‘All for You’ creator admitted to taking a step back when her boyfriend at the time, Jermaine Dupri, was doing studio work — up until 2006’s ’20 Y.O.’ “When we’re at home in Atlanta, I’ll sometimes go to the studio with him. But I’ll never, obviously, walk in and disturb him while he’s at work creating. So this was my first time actually seeing him at work, and I loved it. Sometimes I’d just peek in there. His back would be to me, and he never knew that I was in the room. I’d just sit and watch him.”
In 2010, as Jackson mourned the death of her brother Michael, she took an interview with Larry King where she admitted to feeling a great deal of loneliness much of the time. Even “in a crowd.”
As sensual as she in on record, Janet Jackson admits she was once a prude. “I come from a sheltered background. And then suddenly I’m off to Minneapolis, and these guys, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, are running around cursing like crazy. That made me so uncomfortable I wanted to go home – until I saw that they meant no harm or offense. They were merely talking the way they talk. They were being funny. They were being real. The problem was with my perception, not with their hearts. It’s taken me a while to realize – and rap has really helped educate me – that language is not an absolute. No word is absolutely wrong or dirty or insulting. It all depends upon context and intention. I was this little prude,” she told Rolling Stone in 1993.
The “No Sleeep” creator explained the story behind her longtime nickname Dunk in 1989. Due to her chunky build as a child, Michael used to taunt her and say that she “looked like a donkey.”
Even in the face of danger, the Gary, Ind. native can hold her own. After letting down her guard and working in what she regarded as being a “dangerous” environment, Jackson told Rolling Stone she encountered some seedy characters outside of the studio. “I soon saw that I’d have to give in order to get: give myself over to a creative environment that was different and even a little dangerous from anything I’d ever known. The danger hit home when a couple of guys started stalking me on the street. They were emotionally abusive. Sexually threatening. Instead of running to Jimmy or Terry for protection, I took a stand. I backed them down.”
Orignally, Tupac and Janet were supposed to get it on in the movie ‘Poetic Justice’ but it never happened. “John [Singleton] had originally written in some lovemaking scenes between me and Tupac Shakur, and I was willing to get under the sheets with him. I was not willing, though, to show my short and curlies. None of that happened, not even the lovemaking scene, because the story just wouldn’t allow it. The story is really about two people – both wounded by tragedy – learning to touch and be touched all over again.”
When it comes to the chicken or the egg, the singer isn’t fond of the latter. In 2007, Jackson told Vibe Vixen that the food she hates the most while on a diet are egg whites. “Eggs are funky,” she said.
Her body is certainly a work of art (just look at that ‘Damito Jo’ cover), but she’s enhanced some areas. The singer admits that she’s had her “Down South” pierced, in addition to her septum, belly button and nipple.
When she was still dating Dupri, Jackson shared with Vibe Vixen that she would consider adoption or artificial insemination in order to have a family with him.
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