On Sunday night, Janet Jackson graced the stage of the 2018 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. But the show quickly took a somber turn when the pop icon decided to get something off her chest. According to E! News, the 52-year-old singer paused her performance to address the recent passing of her father, Joe Jackson, who died on June 27 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
A tearful Janet used the opportunity to bravely share her grief with thousands of adoring fans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. She revealed that after her father’s death, she considered canceling her upcoming performances — including that very Essence Fest appearance and her ongoing State of the World Tour, which she kicked off again that night for its second and final leg. The tour began almost a year ago, in September 2017, and will officially end on on August 12 in San Francisco.
“To be quite honest it was really hard for me. It’s always difficult when you lose a loved one. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to move forward, if I should cancel this festival or the entire tour,” she said to the crowd.
But after reflecting with her brother and remembering her father’s strength and drive, Jackson made the decision to keep going.
“My father was a great man. My brother — he asked me. He said, ‘If he were here right now listening to this conversation, what do you think he would say to you?’ and I think my father would’ve said, ‘Janet, please, finish what you started and I will be there with you every step of the way in your heart,'” she explained as she began to cry.
Then, pointing at the sky, Janet said, “I love you so much. This one’s for you.”
Janet also spoke about her father at the 2018 Radio Disney Music Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, while he was still battling the disease, as previously reported by the Inquisitr.
“My father, my incredible father, drove me to be the best that I can,” she shared.
After news of Joe’s passing broke, the singer shared a childhood photo showing her being held by her dad. She captioned the beautiful image with a simple, purple heart emoji.
The late music mastermind has been credited with helping to launch the careers of his children, including Janet’s solo career at 16-years-old. Joe worked as her manager, helping to negotiate her first record deal and overseeing her debut album.