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The Icon, Janet Jackson

The Jacksons are one of the most talented, celebrated, and controversial families in American history. Janet Jackson is the second most famous member of her family, after the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. In honor of her birthday, learn more about Janet Jackson below.

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson was born on May 16, 1966. She is from Indiana. Janet is the youngest sibling of the Jacksons. While the other members of her family started their careers in music, Janet’s first foray into entertainment was acting. She started out as a regular on the 1970’s sitcom, Good Times. She would also appear on the hit shows Fame and Diff’rent Strokes. Janet was successful in entertainment, but of course everyone was looking for her to ger involved in music, since that was what her family was best known for.

janet jackson Good Times


Her debut album, in 1982, and the follow up in 1984, were underwhelming. They achieved little acclaim and success. She dedicated herself to her music, knowing that a third lukewarm response could potentially end her career. In 1986 Control was released by Janet and it would become a massive hit. It would skyrocket her career to a level that was on par with her brother, Michael.

janet jackson

Rhythm Nation

Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989) would become one of the most influential albums of the era. It was a departure from Control. Rhythm Nation would tackle social issues, but still work as a Pop and R&B album. The music videos and tour that were products of the album became a sensation in the late 80s and early 90s. Rhythm Nation was able to help define the sound and talent of Jackson. She had a voice, and presence, which was unique. She was not just a member of a successful family seeking her share of the spotlight, she was a true pop star.

Rhythm Nation


Jackson would continue to solidify herself as a star with the albums janet. (1993) and The Velvet Rope (1997). Her acting career, which took a backseat as her singing career took off, would be revisited by Janet in the 1990s and 2000s. She would star in two successful projects in the era, Poetic Justice (1993) and Nutty Professor II (2000). Her biggest pop culture moment, maybe ever, was her “wardrobe malfunction” at the 2004 Super Bowl. While performing during the halftime show, with Justin Timberlake on stage with her, Jackson was shown partially topless. The incident caused nationwide controversy. Many felt the “malfunction” was deliberate. There were conversations about decency and if our entertainment was becoming too inappropriate for children. Regardless of whether you felt the show was vulgar, or thought the whole thing was overblown, Janet was at the center of the storm.

janet jackson 2004 Super Bowl


Janet Jackson was able to make a name for herself despite constantly being compared to her megastar brother. She has had ups and downs in her career, but she currently stands as an icon in her own right. Janet Jackson is one of pop culture’s biggest names.


- Adam C. Better