Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Woman of Interest: Ms. Jackson (if your nasty, of course)
I would be lying if I told you Janet Jackson was not a huge influence on me as a young performer. In fact, she was very much the prototype for a triple threat(behind Ms. Debbie Allen of course...more on her later) when I was a teenager. However, as I got older and became more "refined", I began downplaying the impact she had on me. Besides, she was "just" a pop icon and I had begun discovering greats like Sarah, Ella and Billie as a singer and Babs, Chita and Patti LuPone as a triple threat performer. Still, looking back I remember those days in the mirror "trying" to do all of Tina's choreography (especially the one in the video above! LOL!); not so much! Ironically, as a member of Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera's Mini-Stars, "Rhythm Nation" was one of my biggest solos; which gave me a chance to perform her dope choreography on a regular basis in front of people other than my Cabbge Patch doll! Although I was merely fifteen years old at the time, this solo is still a career highlight for me.
I could really go on and on about all of my JJ moments: the concerts, the DVDs, the cassettes then CDs...the first time I heard "That's the Way Love Goes" while sitting in the beauty salon getting my hair done for my senior prom! The bottom line is this: Ms. Janet is an icon who is very much her brother's sister...she has more than proven herself worthy of her last name...she can go toe to toe with the best of them because she resides among them in the Pantheon of American Performing Artists...I've seen her in concert...the woman is no joke....and she was Penny for goodness sake!
Unfortunately, as our pop icons get older they are forced to make decisions about their career that can either make or break them. Ms. Jackson has been no exception as she too has struggled to make the adjustment like so many of her predecessors and contemporaries. How do you continue to portray powerful and sexy at 40ish in a business that glorifies 20ishness? Who knows...no matter what...we can't deny the amazing body of work Janet has already given us. Though she continues to make the transition into her full womanly awesomeness, I am sure she has got decades worth of greatness still in her to give. I can't wait to see what she does next besides "Why Did I Get Married Too!" I aint hatin...I'ma be up in that show...#imjustsayin