Before there was Rihanna or Ciara, there was Janet Jackson. She burst on the scene as the little, precocious actress with the adorable cheeks who captured everyone’s heart. Soon after, she blossomed into the independent, non-confirmative entertainer who defied societal standards and danced sexily to the beat of her own drum. She challenged chauvinistic standards for women, introduced fly hairstyles and risqué fashion looks that millions emulated, and made hits that can still get a party started today.
Janet Damita Jo Jackson was born on May 16, 1966, in Garry, Indiana, to Joe and Katherine Jackson. Raised in a musically inclined family, the 10th and youngest of the clan had no choice but to become a living legend and inspiration to generations and various genres of music. Jackson’s career garnered eleven American Music Awards, five Grammy Awards, ten MTV Video Music Awards, and eleven Billboard Music Awards. Of those honors, she’s received the American Music Award’s “Award of Merit,” Billboard Award’s “Artistic Achievement Award,” MTV’s “Video Vanguard Award,” and Recording Academy’s “Governor’s Award.” She’s also been honored with MTV’s inaugural Icon tribute and Radio Music Award’s “Legend, and World Music Awards’ “Legend Award.”
Jackson’s influence is richly infused in today’s music. Artists like Teyana Taylor constantly reference the 56-year-old in her music by recreating her dances, remixing her music, and wearing her iconic looks from over the years. The creative genius tapped into the acting world and blessed us with memorable characters such as “Justice” from Poetic Justice, “Patricia” from Why Did I Get Married and Why Did I Get Married Too, and who could forget “Penny” from Good Times?
Jackson is responsible for shifting a culture and being at the forefront of the popular, nostalgic 90’s vibe. To honor her iconic impact on the world, below are 16 times Miss Jackson (if you’re nasty) influenced us through music, fashion, and the arts.
1. Janet Jackson’s 189 Live Performance in GermanySource:Getty
If you’ve ever seen Janet Jackson perform live or on television, you’ve experienced a phenomenal production. Her outfit choices and her choreography always stole the show.
2. Janet Jackson At Her First Billboard Music AwardsSource:Getty
Jackson was a sight to see in an all black ensemble as she gathered a plethora of awards for her hit songs that have influenced an entire generation.
3. Janet Jackson Receives Hollywood Walk Of Fame Star in 1990Source:Getty
Janet Jackson’s artistic work and musical influence earned her a Hollywood Walk of Fame star in 1990, very early in her career.
4. Janet Jackson Receives NAACP AwardSource:Getty
Janet Jackson was recognized by the NAACP for her cultural contributions.
5. Janet Jackson In ‘Poetic Justice’Source:Getty
No one will ever forget Jackson’s character, Justice, in the notorious movie Poetic Justice. The trendy braid hairdo she rocked in this movie is still being imitated today.
6. Janet Jackson at 12th Annual MTV Video Music AwardsSource:Getty
Janet Jackson smiles in the press room at the MTV Video Music Awards as she is honored for her music.
7. Janet Jackson On Des O’Connor ShowSource:Getty
It’s safe to say that one of Janet Jackson’s best colors is black. Here she is performing one of her songs in an all black look on the Des O’Connor Show.
8. Janet Jackson And Eddie Murphy In ‘Nutty Professor II: The Klumps’Source:Getty
While we love Janet Jackson’s music, we also love her acting just as much. Here she is in a scene from the Nutty Professor alongside actor Eddie Murphy.
9. Janet Jackson at the 2002 Essence AwardsSource:Getty
Janet Jackson poses backstage at “The 2002 Essence Awards” looking absolutely fabulous in all white.
10. Janet Jackson at the 47th Annual Grammy AwardsSource:Getty
Janet Jackson’s dating life has always been interesting. She posed in a strapless, printed dress alongside ex-boyfriend Jermaine Dupri at the 47th Grammy Awards.
11. Janet Jackson at the Tonight Show with Jay LenoSource:Getty
Janet Jackson captures an audience with her smile at the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. She’s always been a class act, exuding nothing but style and grace during every appearance.
12. Janet Jackson at the 65th Annual Cannes Film FestivalSource:Getty
Janet Jackson is known for using her stardom to highlight important issues in the world. Here she attends the 2012 amfAR’s Cinema Against AIDS Gala during the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival.
13. Janet Jackson at the 2015 BET AwardsSource:Getty
Janet Jackson looks amazing in a white ensemble as she accepts an honor at the 2015 BET Awards.
14. Janet Jackson at the 2018 Billboard Music AwardsSource:Getty
We can always count on Janet Jackson for a style moment. Her tulle skirt and crop top combo was perfect for the 2018 Billboard awards. We’ve seen this look recreated several times.
15. Janet Jackson at the Fashion Awards 2019Source:Getty
Janet Jackson makes a chic appearance at the 2019 Fashion Awards in London.
16. Janet Jackson at the 2022 Billboard Music AwardsSource:Getty
Janet Jackson gave us a throwback 90’s look as she posed with Mary J. Blige backstage at the 2022 Billboard awards.
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