Janet Jackson has been music royalty for decades now and with her new album, Unbreakable, she’s come out of semi-retirement to give her fans what they’ve been waiting a long time to hear. Even the most successful diva usually has help along the way and, over the weekend, Jackson got a surprise from some old friends who came on stage to help her celebrate a successful year.
“I want to thank you for making the Unbreakable album No. 1,” Janet told the audience at a show in California. Moments later, she turned around to see Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis walking toward her onstage, and her face lit up in complete shock.
The duo have been longtime collaborators with Jackson, co-writing much of her song catalog from the early days (and getting shout-outs on several of her hits). According to Jimmy, the three of them have been working together for 30 years — including on her latest album — but have known one another since they were teenagers.
“So if you ever wanted to know what Janet Jackson looks like when she’s totally surprised, this is it, L.A. This is it. So, I just want to say real quick, first of all, I want to congratulate each and every one in this arena right now, because a No. 1 does not happen without all of you. But tonight is a very special night because it was around 30 years ago — if you can believe that — that we first got together in a little town called Minneapolis, Minnesota. And we had the first chance to work with Janet,” Jimmy said. “So, we’re not only celebrating the history, but the best part about it is we’re celebrating the right now, the right here tonight. So listen, we just wanted to celebrate with everybody here in L.A. tonight. It’s very special, because, trust me — she says it in the song — you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone. We waited seven years for a new project, and guess what? She’s back! We love you, Janet.”
Much of the new tour is chock-filled with Janet’s catalog of hits, including “Nasty”, “When I Think Of You”, and “Anytime, Anyplace”, but according to the L.A. Times that doesn’t mean she’s lost her touch. The pop star has waited seven years to put out new work, but she’s still just as relevant today as she always has been.
“It’s that bridging of the past and present, while nodding toward the future, that’s served as the basis of Jackson’s comeback,” wrote Gerrick D. Kennedy.
Also on hand to help Jackson celebrate her success and new tour were parents Joe And Katherine Jackson, sister LaToya, and stars like Beyoncé and Channing Tatum, who brought his wife, Jenna Dewan, along for the show. For fans of all types, it’s been a pleasure just to see Jackson doing what she loves again after taking such a long hiatus and mostly staying out of the public eye following her marriage to billionaire Wassam Al Mana in 2012. The very private couple issued a statement afterward, asking for the media to respect their decision to keep things just between them and their family.
“Last year we were married in a quiet, private, and beautiful ceremony. Our wedding gifts to one another were contributions to our respective favourite children’s charities. We would appreciate that our privacy is respected and that we are allowed this time for celebration and joy,” the statement read.
Part of the new tour’s success is mixing old favorites with a few surprises, such as performing the song she did with brother Michael –“Scream”– and throwing in a totally different dance routine (from “Rhythm Nation”). For fans old and new, Janet Jackson is the quintessential Queen of Pop.
[Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images]