About Janet Jackson
A member of R&B royalty with a silvery voice and a fierce spirit, Janet Jackson helped define pop in the late 20th century with hard-hitting beats, sumptuous love songs, and a commitment to helping the world find, as she sang in her 1989 smash “Rhythm Nation,” “a better way of life.” Born in Gary, IN, in 1966, Janet broke from her pop-star brothers and initially found fame on television, playing Penny on the groundbreaking sitcom Good Times in the late ’70s. She released her self-titled debut album in 1982 but truly came into her own with her third full-length, 1986’s Control, a fiery proclamation of the self that took nasty boys to task and propelled the then-nascent genre of new jack swing into pop’s mainstream. In the ensuing years, Jackson continued to push boundaries musically and lyrically: 1989’s Rhythm Nation 1814 added political savvy and squealing guitars to the mix; 1993’s Janet. was a declaration of sexual independence that coincided with her star turn in the John Singleton film Poetic Justice; and 1997’s The Velvet Rope put her innermost thoughts—good and bad—front and center. All these albums were packed with singles that defined the decade, like the brightly hued love song “Love Will Never Do (Without You),” the spirited “If,” and the chilled-out Joni Mitchell flip “Got ’Til It’s Gone.” Jackson kept innovating as younger R&B artists clearly inspired by her made their own inroads into pop. She worked with of-the-moment collaborators like The-Dream and Kanye West in the 2000s, and her 2015 triumph Unbreakable looked back on her three-plus decades in the music business with love, grace, and music that recalled her platinum past while gazing ahead to pop's future.
BORNMay 16, 1966