Janet Jackson Looks Back at Her Defining Moments and Learning To "Love Me for Me"

By
This video is unavailable because we were unable to load a message from our sponsors.

If you are using ad-blocking software, please disable it and reload the page.

Janet Jackson is entering a new era of her life, and she's a lot more candid than before. In an interview with Allure for their February cover story, the music icon is opening up about her journey, her life in the limelight and the future of her career.

Despite being a superstar with multiple GRAMMY Awards and acclaim on a global scale, the singer revealed that she initially had no desire to enter her family's business in the music industry. According to Janet, she had aspirations of being an entertainment lawyer. It was an accident that led to her being "discovered" by her father, Joe Jackson, who managed the family's music career. 

Janet explains that she had been playing in the family's home studio, recording a song she couldn't get out of her head, and she forgot to scrap it before heading to school. 

"We would always write music growing up... So any time of day or night, if you couldn’t sleep or had an idea before school, after school, you could go in the studio and put it down, your idea, musically. So I did that and I put this idea that I had down and played all the parts on it and, like a genius, I left the tape on the machine and when I came home from school I was so embarrassed," she recalls. "They were listening to the song. My father, some of my brothers. I was so embarrassed."

Unsurprisingly, Joe was adamant that Janet join her brothers -- already playing as The Jackson 5 -- and "be a performer." 

"I said, ‘No, no, no, no, no! You don’t understand. I want to go to school. I want to go to college and study business law and support myself by acting,'" Janet shares, who at the time had a small role on Diff’rent Strokes. "That's how it all started."

Much of Janet's early career was controlled by others, which she rebelled against during her Control era. She released the record-breaking third studio album, annulled her marriage to singer James DeBarge and severed her business affairs with her father and the rest of the family. It was the beginning of the performer grabbing the reins of her career back, which she shares is a journey that went beyond Control

It wasn’t until her self-titled 1993 album that she started exploring other ways to express herself. The Janet era was all about "embracing me and trying to learn to love me for me, my body, all of that."

"Trying to feel comfortable in embracing that. Throwing myself in the lion’s den. Just going for it, wanting to do something different," she adds. "It took a lot of work, a lot of work. It was something very tough, very difficult. But I’m glad I walked through it. I’m really glad I got in. It was a way of accepting and loving, accepting yourself and your body."

Janet Jackson Allure cover story
Tom Munro/Allure

The 55-year-old singer-songwriter -- who suffered immense criticism over her image after her and Justin Timberlake's notorious Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show in 2004 -- notes how thrilled she is to see how the industry has changed in recent years, with celebrities like Lizzo sharing messages of body positivity in their music and onstage.

"Comfortable in their skin, in their size, in being full-figured and I love that, as opposed to back in the day," she adds. "You had to always be thin and always look a certain way. And now it's all accepted and it is all beautiful and I absolutely love that."

Although Janet doesn't delve too deeply into the conversation about the Super Bowl incident -- she notes it's "tough" to talk about that time even though she understands that "whether I want to be part of that conversation or not, I am part of that conversation" -- her upcoming two-part biographical documentary will reveal her side of that story in an unprecedented way. 

The four-hour film -- which has been in the works for five years now -- follows the singer's career and legacy following the death of her father and looks back at her rise to fame and some high-profile setbacks and hurdles she's had to overcome. It'll be the first time Janet has fully commented on the scandal.

The two-part documentary will premiere on Jan. 28 on Lifetime and A&E -- commemorating the 40th anniversary of her self-titled first album.

RELATED CONTENT

Janet Jackson Wishes Son Eissa a Happy Birthday With Sweet Post

Why Janet Jackson Is Auctioning Off Over 1,000 Career and Personal Items

Jackson Brothers On Justin Timberlake's Apology to Sister Janet

Related Gallery