Janet Jackson, born on May 16, 1966, is perhaps the second-most famous Jackson in the music industry, and a star in her own right. After starting her career at just seven years old, performing at the M.G.M. Grand Casino, Jackson went on to star in some T.V. series as a young child. But it was when she officially kicked off her singing career that she truly became a household name. Jackson has enjoyed incredible success throughout her career, and even after 11 studio albums and various film and T.V. roles, she shows no signs of stopping. Journey with us through the life of this world-renowned artist here.
Janet Jackson’s full name is Janet Damita Jo Jackson, and she was born on May 16, 1966, in Indiana. Jackson is a multi-talented performer; dancer, actress, and songwriter, and one of the biggest American singers of our time. Jackson was the youngest of 10 children who grew up in a conservative Jehovah’s Witness household. Her elder brothers had hit it big performing as the Jackson 5 by the time she was an infant, but Jackson did not want to follow in their footsteps, and instead, dreamed of becoming a lawyer or a horse-racing jockey. Her father had other plans when he heard the young Jackson sing. He convinced her to give performing a try, and she began her career singing at the Las Vegas M.G.M. Grand Casino. She didn’t only sing but delved into acting as well, appearing in “The Jacksons” in 1976, as well as “Good Times,” “Diff’rent Strokes,” and “Fame,” in the 1970s and 1980s.
Jackson signed her first recording contract at age 16 with A&M Records in 1982. Her debut album “Janet Jackson” was released the same year. It reached number 63 on the Billboard 200 and number six on the R&B albums chart. Jackson released her second album two years later, which only reached number 147 on the Billboard 200 and number 19 on the R&B albums chart. Both albums featured primarily pop bubblegum music. It was only on her third and fourth albums that Jackson soared to new heights of fame. “Control” shot to number one on the Billboard 200 and sold over 10 million copies worldwide. It received six Billboard Music Awards, including “Top Pop Single Artist,” three Grammy Awards nominations, and four American Music Awards. Her fourth album “Rhythm Nation 1814” was even more successful. It peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold over 12 million copies worldwide. “Rhythm Nation 1814” was considered the “exclamation point on her career” and was the first album to have seven top-five singles on the Hot 100. Jackson broke away from business with her family, signing her third recording contract all on her own with Virgin Records in 1991.
Her next two albums “Janet” (1993) and “The Velvet Rope” (1997) showcased Jackson as a strong female sex symbol. She was thought to be one of the most erotic performers of her time, and these two albums, along with their promotional music videos and live performances, enhanced and solidified this title. Jackson continued to soar until the ill-fated 2004 Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show during which she performed with singer Justin Timberlake and had a wardrobe malfunction. Timberlake ripped off part of her shirt, exposing her breast. Jackson was blacklisted, and radios reduced the airplay of her songs. It was until 2008 that Jackson released her seventh album “Discipline” with Island Records. In 2015, Jackson launched her own record label Rhythm Nation and released her album “Unbreakable” in the same year. In 2019, she achieved a major feat and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jackson has continued to inspire and take her music to new heights.
Jackson appears on the television show “The Jacksons,” her first major public project.
At 16, Jackson signs her first record deal with A&M records and releases her first album “Janet Jackson” which makes it to number 63 on the Billboard 200 and number six on the R&B albums chart.
Jackson releases her third album “Control,” which shoots to number one on the Billboard 200 and makes her a superstar.
Jackson decides to break away from family business affairs, and strikes out on her own, signing with Virgin Records.
Jackson performs with Justin Timberlake at the Superbowl halftime show in which Timberlake rips off her clothing, exposing Jackson's breast on live television.
Despite being torn to shreds by the media and music industry, Jackson fights back and releases her album “Discipline” with Island Records.
Jackson launches Rhythm Nation and releases her album “Unbreakable.”
Jackson is finally recognized for her iconic musical abilities and is inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Why We Love Janet Jackson
Her songs have big messages
Janet Jackson doesn’t write about love, loss, and owning it as a woman alone. In her 1989 album “Rhythm Nation” she addressed multiple societal issues such as poverty, racism, and crime. In her song ‘Together Again,’ Jackson addressed HIV/AIDS, and the track was dedicated to those who had lost their lives to the illness.
She isn’t ashamed to speak out
One of the things we absolutely admire about Janet Jackson is her ability to speak out about her own issues. She has talked about her struggle with low self-esteem, among other things, to help those who are also dealing with the same insecurities.
She sticks by family
Jackson values family above all else, so when the world, and the Jackson family, turned their backs on Michael Jackson, she stuck by his side. After his death, she became even more involved in his family and has been a fantastic aunt and mentor since!
5 Surprising Facts
Jennifer Lopez was her backup dancer
Before Miss Lopez hit the big time, she was a backup dancer for the legendary Janet Jackson.
Jackson starred in sitcoms as a child
Jackson had major roles in sitcoms like “Diff’rent Strokes” and “Good Times.”
A hard time growing up
She and her siblings grew up in a tough household, working hard and performing in the music and television business all their lives.
A strained relationship with her father
In her emotional biography, Jackson speaks about her strained relationship with her father who was emotionally distant and tough on his children.
She didn’t want to be a performer
She wanted to become a horse-racing jockey or a lawyer, but when her father heard her singing, he convinced her to give it a try, and she fell in love with it.
Janet Jackson FAQs
Is Janet Jackson related to Michael Jackson?
Yes, Janet Jackson is Michael Jackson’s younger sister. They were nine years apart from one another.
How many siblings does Janet Jackson have?
Janet Jackson was the youngest of 10 children, so she has nine siblings. What a busy household!
Was Janet Jackson part of the Jackson 5?
No, Janet Jackson was too young to join the Jackson 5. The group was made up of her brothers, including Michael Jackson.
Janet Jackson’s birthday dates