Will you watch “Janet,” the two-part documentary about Janet Jackson airing on Lifetime and A&E on January 28? I don’t even know the numbers for these channels on my TV remote control, so this tells you how much I watch them. Don’t they have advertisement breaks every five seconds? However, it sounds interesting.
The documentary is sold as Janet Jackson’s story, told by Janet herself: “This is my story told by me. Not through someone else’s eyes,” she says in the trailer. With her famous brother Michael, she is one of the Jacksons who managed to have a very successful solo career and a name for herself. She is the queen of pop, a professional, and a hard worker, there’s no doubt about it, and since it’s always much harder for women, she deserves everyone’s admiration.
But besides the various archival footage browsing her career, the on-stage performances, the behind-the-scenes clips, the unseen home videos, and the interviews with famous stars including Missy Elliott, Mariah Carey, Q-Tip, Janelle Monae, Teyana Taylor, Tyler Perry, … what can we expect from this new documentary? Maybe her answers to some of the controversies that have always surrounded the Jacksons’ mythology. I don’t expect too many revelations but she will talk about her father, her brother, and the 2004 Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction.” Will she mention the ridiculous blame she took whereas it was Justin Timberlake who ripped the right cup of her bustier, exposing her right breast? I never understood why this turned into such a scandal, but she was blacklisted and some people wanted to ruin her career.
Of course, the biggest controversy that interests everyone is the child molestation allegations that have pursued her late brother Michael for years. An interesting point is revealed in the trailer of the documentary when she is asked whether the controversy affected her career. “Yeah … guilty by association,” she answers.
In the past, she has defended her brother, in particular, she stayed by his side when he was accused of sexually abusing 13-year-old Jordan Chandler. But since the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland,” it may be difficult to still defend Michael Jackson. To my knowledge, she never commented on the movie and avoided embarrassing questions when asked about it, focusing on his legacy instead. In 2019, when she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she declined to participate in a customary musical number because the event was filmed for HBO, the same network which aired “Leaving Neverland.”
Directed by Ben Hirsch, “Janet” was produced by Janet Jackson and her brother Randy. It will premiere as a two-night, four-hour special in celebration of her self-titled debut album’s 40th anniversary.
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