Janet Jackson Slays Essence Magazine, Updates on ‘Black Diamond’ Album & More Ahead of Headlining Essence Festival+BTS Footage [Photos/Video]

Posted June 15, 2022
Photo Credit: Essence/ YU TSAI

Janet Jackson has been prepping and is just weeks away from headlining the 2022 Essence Festival for her second time, and ahead of that, she is gracing Essence Magazine.

The iconic performer sat down with the publication to dish on her upcoming performance, her record-breaking documentary that aired earlier this Spring, her previously announced ‘Black Diamond’ album that was delayed due to the pandemic, and much more!

Check out some of the highlights below.

Did the documentary help you better understand anything about your past selves?

I realized certain patterns I had in my personal life, in my career. Certain things I never thought about. Five years is a good amount of time to have someone follow you around like that.

I imagine making the documentary woke up a lot in you. How did you process that? Have you processed that?

For me, it was what it was—whether you liked it or not. It’s my life story and my family. It was important for me to do it, because I had the opportunity to tell my story and not have someone tell it for me. I know I got it right. I was being completely honest—but still,  even in that honesty, my mother could have called and said, “Oh, baby, I didn’t like this part.” And that was the nervous part, because you never want to disappoint, you know?

Yeah.

And when she called? Ooooh. She said, “Baby, I saw your documentary. I loved every minute of it.” That was everything for me, right there.

You’re back on stage and performing live at ESSENCE Festival of Culture this year—but how are things going in the studio? Where are you with new music?

It’s so funny because I see the fans asking, “When are we going to get Black Diamond?” “Will you please release?” Sometimes things happen that you don’t expect to happen, and you have to figure things out—or you’re in a space in your life when you have to take a step back and take a break for a minute. Even though it’s something that I absolutely love, it still is my work, my job. There will be music at some point. Exactly when? I can’t say just yet, but there will be. I love it too much not to do it. This is all I know. There’s so much that I want to do—but my number one job is being a mama.

Do you feel you’ve got your proper due as a songwriter and producer, particularly when it comes to innovating R&B?

I’ve heard Jimmy and Terry tell me we haven’t. I’ve heard fans tell me we -haven’t. Other artists have said the same thing. That never crossed my mind. That’s not important to me, whether I did or didn’t, to be quite honest. It’s really the body of music touching people and how it impacts their lives that matters to me. It’s not the accolades. I honestly don’t think about that stuff.

So where are all of your awards?

At a warehouse. I’m just saving them for my baby, whatever he wants to do with them. I remember when Jermaine and I were together, he said to me, “Where are your Grammys? Why don’t you have your Grammys?” So I had them brought over, because he wanted them out, so that’s what I did. Just the Grammys, nothing else. After we went our separate ways, they went back in the warehouse and haven’t come out since.

Do you feel like you have an album that is underrated?

Underrated? I don’t know if I can say underrated. With The Velvet Rope, a lot of people were expecting something that was more up. Fun and happy. I remember driving on the freeway and this car honked. It was a girl, and I looked over and she pulled up her CD and it was The Velvet Rope. I just smiled and said, “Thank you.” I appreciated her acknowledging the fact that she had it—and feeling that she understood it, she got it and it spoke to her.

Get into the amazing snaps captured by photographer Yu Tsai below and the full article HERE.

 
 
 
 
 
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