Saturday, June 15, 2024

A Black Image exclusive with Janet Jackson

by Kimberly Bailey-Tureaud

To the thousands of fans anxious to see her perform, it will be no coincidence that the burst of energy and color delivered by the onset of spring will coincide with Janet Jackson’s arrival in Las Vegas.

Performing April 22-24 for audiences at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, the shows will also mark an anniversary of sorts for the multitalented entertainer: It was 37 years ago, in April 1974, that she first performed in the world entertainment capital. Then, it was on the MGM stage, alongside her brother Randy in the Jackson family’s Las Vegas show.

“Vegas is such an amazing place — I love that the audience is from all over the world,” Jackson said in an exclusive interview with Las Vegas Black Image. “I am looking forward to being there. The reception has been wonderful, and I am happy that we needed to add a third night.”
Simply titled “The Up Close and Personal Tour,” Jackson is touring 35 cities across the globe — all of them suggested by visitors to her website, As she sees it, these live performances are well-suited for those who have followed her career as a recording artist from the beginning.

“I am excited about this concert because it is the first time that I am not performing in arenas, and it’s the first time that I will only be performing songs from my ‘Number Ones’ CD,” she said. “I was in New York at Radio City Music Hall for a private date, and it was so intimate that I felt this is what I wanted to do for this tour. I am only picking venues that allow me to be up close and personal with my fans. It is not about special effects; it is a thank you to all my fans that have supported me all these years.”

With a string of hits that includes “Control,” “The Pleasure Principle,” “Rhythm Nation,” Miss You Much” and “Nasty,” Jackson will always face the question of when she will unleash new music. “I have not started my new CD,” she said. “I will be going into the studio later in the year. I wait to be inspired by whatever is going on in my life at that time, so I guess I’ll have to get back to you on that.”
Jackson was equally coy about whether the Las Vegas performances will include a musical tribute to her late brother, Michael, nearly two years after his untimely death. “I guess,” she teased, “you will have to come see the show to find out.”

Given that she has won fame and fortune as one of the most successful acts in the history of pop music, it is easy to forget that, as Jackson told Black Image, “Acting has always been my first love.” The owner of an NAACP Image Award nomination for her performance in Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married Too?,” Jackson also starred recently in the director’s “For Colored Girls.”

“People don’t always remember that I actually started my career acting as Penny in ‘Good Times.’ It has been great to get back to it again,” she said. “It has been so much fun. I have never been a great multitasker, but I am working on it now. It will be difficult, but I am up for the challenge. I still have so much that I want to do. A dream acting role for me would be one that challenges me. I love a great challenge.”
Life and love have also presented many challenges for Jackson — who has been married twice and recently separated from her longtime boyfriend, producer Jermaine Dupri. Asked what she has learned about herself and love at this stage of her life, Jackson said, “I wrote a book that just came out this month called ‘True You.’ It is not an autobiography, but it does have anecdotes from my life. It is about my journey to finding and loving myself. I guess, to answer your question, it’s that I am exactly who God wants me to be. It has been a long road but I am pretty happy with my life.”

Asked what words of encouragement she could offer to young black girls, Jackson’s reply is as immediate as it is elegant. “You are perfect just like you are,” she said. “And you should never give up on your dreams.”

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