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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

With the Superbowl just around the corner, many are ready to watch and see which team is going to gain all the glory. For others, however, they could care less about it. For members of the “Janfam”, as they are called, the term “Superbowl Sunday” means nothing to them. The only reason this day is celebrated, in their eyes, is for one woman and one woman only: Janet Jackson. February 13th is #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay. Starting as a trend on twitter in 2018 after the Queen resurfaced with new music and a new tour, many fans didn’t care much for the event, and were focused on the simple fact that after the incident in 2004, Janet’s career and legacy were being held hostage by prejudice, greed, and danger of being forgotten.

Fans were sick and tired of her career, of almost 4 decades being ignored and trampled on over something that was a complete accident, and in retaliation, simply instead see Super Bowl Sunday as a day to chart albums, and talk about why Janet is an icon, not only as an artist, but as a woman as well.

The Queen of Pop

Janet Jackson is not known only as Michael Jackson’s little sister, but for some she is her own legacy. Building her career on her own, despite her last name, Janet is known for exploring different genres of music, fashion, and themes that many didn’t talk about during her early years. She spoke up against prejudice with Rhythm Nation: 1814, and acknowledged the HIV/AIDs epidemic with Together again on the Velvet Rope Album.

Her choreography is like no other, and her lyrics vary between the sensual sounds of Come Back to Me, to the growling roar of Black Cat. Her career is long, starting only at 7 years old, acting in sitcoms such as Good Times and Fame, before releasing music, then breaking out on her own with her very successful album, ‘Control.’

She is a blueprint to many of past and current artists such as Ciara, Brittany Spears, Normani, Teyana Taylor, H.E.R., and a plethora of others all have given credit where credit is due.

Damage Nearly Done

After the 2004 super bowl performance, where Jackson was indecently exposed by Justin Timberlake, the media backlash she received was a dumpster fire of over exaggeration. Church groups rallied against the show calling for NBC and the NFL to “do something about it”. The FCC got involved, thus forcing Janet to issue a public apology, but she would not be able to get past the event so easily. Instead she was blacklisted. Radio did not play her newly released Album, Damita Jo, or it’s singles. She was disinvited from the Grammy’s and every interview she went to, even outside of the U.S., all everyone seemed to care about was that brief millisecond she was exposed on live television.

What made this situation worse was that Justin Timberlake seemed to have received little to no damage to his rising career. He was still invited to the Grammy’s despite him playing a main role in what happened, and he continued to rise to stardom. Whereas Janet was not only seemingly banned from NBC and the NFL, but she could only really promote her music outside of the U.S.

Funny enough, this “cancel culture” agenda seems to fly under the radar when a man is the main focus of attention. For example, Adam Levine performing completely shirtless in a planned 2019 performance, receiving little to no backlash.

Be it because she was black, a woman, or because her last name is “Jackson”, it seems that Janet took a hit for it, and never fully recovered.

Fan’s Paving the Way

Despite this, fan’s of the Queen of Pop have rallied against this blatant ignorance in hopes to cement Janet’s legacy. First and foremost, they called out NBC and the NFL for it’s double standard. They also continued to fight in order for Janet to get the awards and recognition she deserves. It took until 2019 for her to finally join her brother’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but after returning to performing in 2015, Janet has been on the rise once again.

Janet Jackson, through this and many other parts of her life where times were tough, has shown incredible strength in continuing to be herself and be someone girls like me can look up to. Her recent Documentary, Janet, which released earlier this month on Lifetime and A&E is the most outspoken she has ever been about her private life, and showcases how much she went through and how she managed to get to where she is today.

Through the tenacity of herself and others such as Tyler Perry, her family, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis having her back and giving her a chance to vent and shine, she has come back though she never really left. She is supposed to be releasing a new album, called Black Diamond, sometime this year although postponed due to COVID-19.

“It’s the toughest of the diamonds to cut…it’s hard to hurt and destroy” she told Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. “In my recent years, I’ve come to realize that I’m incredibly strong”

That strength has helped her remain in the industry for as long as she has. Her humble aura and ability to survive the harshness of being a Jackson and a black woman, is something to definitely admire and aspire to.

I highly recommend watching her Documentary to learn more about her strength and long career.

By the way…

Happy Janet Jackson Appreciation Day!

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Tianna Williams

Northern Arizona '22

I am a senior criminology major, double minoring in Japanese and Music. I love to read, write, draw, knit and crochet. I also love playing RDO and Kingdom Hearts. I have a German Shepard named Callie, and I hope that I can become and International Lawyer after a graduate from Law School
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