Mar 12, 2012

The Plight of A Janet Stan

Yes, it’s been quite some time since the last post. I’ve been very busy with school, working aisle 5 at Wal-Mart to try to #GetOnIt and still #CantAffordIt, and skinning dead cats to give a more recession-friendly Blackglama look. In any event, many of us, unlike myself, have other things to do with their time rather than wait by the phone for a “Janet Jackson” Google Alert update. Janet continues to be Blackglama’s spokesperson for the coats none of her fair-weather fans can afford. After losing The Biggest Loser, Janet becomes the spokesperson for NutriSystem, PETA is still pressed, and somewhere in America, a strand of Jermaine’s ghetto prom up-do is out of place. So not much has happened. 

With the Numbers Ones: Microphone Malfunction and Wife Beaters Tour on hiatus, there hasn’t been much news. This is a problem. During these times, also known as the Dream Street period, stans become a bit…uneasy. Janet-Xone becomes a host for irrationality, mindless posts, and the trolls post threads quicker than the Discipline era. There's no clear direction of what is to come, there's a high level of uncertainty about the future, and Janet stans just start making shit up just to pass the time. As if the trip to the OB/GYN wasn’t enough for Janet stans to speculate the utter most ridiculousness about her uterus, Louis XIV’s stepdaughter decided to throw shade from her brittle arms and expected Janet to catch. It didn’t help that Janet’s #1 lesbian mistress responded to the foolishness. 

Moving forward, VH1 recently published their newest form fuckery, better known as VH1’s 100 Greatest Women in Music. VH1 arbitrarily assembled 100 women of the past 20 years that went multi-platinum or multi-plasma, had sold out arena tours or sold out walk-in closets, or placed multiple hits on the Hot 100 or placed multiple hits on the shelves. Fortunately, Viacom no longer has it out for Janet, so she was able to rank at a questionable #7. Sadly, the list looks as if it were assembled by a group of VH1 interns that swear by the watered-down definitions of “icon”, “legend”, “slay”, and whatever stan terminology that’s commonly misused to described a half-assed artist. Now, the top ten is somewhat right, although after the second artist, the list does a Bionic, and things get ugly:

1. Madonna
2. Mariah Carey
3. Beyoncé
4. Lady Gaga
5. Adele
6. Whitney Houston
7. Janet Jackson
8. Christina Aguilera
9. Mary J. Blige
10. P!nk

The top 10 alone is ridiculous, so I won’t insult you by posting the rest of the list. You can view the rest of VH1’s nonsense here. Granted Madonna and Mariah’s placements are justified, but Janet’s, along with Whitney’s, is nothing short of a punch line. 

Janet being accepted by Viacom/VH1 is a celebratory moment for us fans, and I understand that beggars can’t be choosers, but there comes a time when accuracy supersedes entertainment. In 1999, Janet ranked as Billboard’s second most successful artist of the entire decade, right behind Mariah – hence why Mariah’s placement is justified. But for Janet to be ranked at #7 is quite upsetting.

Look at this woman:

You’re looking at a woman who has been in the business for nearly 40 years.
You’re looking at someone who has sold upwards of 100 million albums.
She has accumulated hit after hit after hit.
This woman has danced on stages in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Mars.
She has written and produced the albums that have influenced and impacted the world, the music we listen to today, and our lives.
She has blazed a trail that artists continue to use as a vehicle for their success.
She is Janet Jackson.

Now, the common generalization is that Janet stans come off as being bitter and angry at other female artists. Are we bitter? Well, I wouldn’t necessarily call it “bitter”. The “bitterness” comes as a result of Janet’s contributions being undermined, overlooked, or downplayed in favor of more overrated who shall remain nameless. It appears to the ignorant that everything Janet has done in the industry can be attributed to other artists, who, again, shall remain anonymous. This excuse has been used since the success of Control back in 1986.  For every accomplishment Janet has obtained, someone other than Janet has to be given credit. After a while, this becomes tiring and frustrating.

VH1 also published another version of their annual fuckery, 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Obviously Janet’s exclusion from the list is questionable. How she isn’t ranked as one of the 100 greatest artists, but artists who have followed her template made the list only reinforces my abovementioned point.

Today’s artists are heavily influenced by the contributions of Janet, from their albums to the videos to their dancing. These artists have utilized the trail Janet blazed as an avenue to be successful. They have taken pointers from Janet’s book of being the consummate pop star. And these artists are highly praised for their artistic output as if they had innovated something new. The upsetting part for Janet stans comes when Janet is overlooked for the same contribution, but the artist who “borrowed” from Janet is praised in the same breath.
Janet was born with two strikes – being a woman, and being Black. So naturally there are obstacles she would have to overcome. She has spent her career breaking the barriers for Black artists in the industry. She worked hard to be played on non-Black networks, have her songs played on non-Black stations, and created a method for selling R&B to non-R&B audiences. She took R&B internationally. Granted before Janet there was Aretha, Donna, and even Tina who were major pop stars. But none of them were moving units by the millions like Janet, or consistently having crossover success. This lane Janet created, and today’s acts are being praised for it, yet critics fail to acknowledge the engineer of the blazed trail. 

Don’t get me wrong, Janet has received a significant amount of acclaim for her work from the critics, and we as fans wear those medals of honor but her work still manages to be undermined. Her works ranks low, despite the level of recognition. Or sometimes she’s just absent in general. Case and point – last month Billboard released what they believed are the 29 Black Music Milestones. In exactly 39 years of entertainment, nothing Janet has done is a milestone in Black music. NOTHING. However, Lil Wayne’s Carter series, Beyoncé singing for the Obamas, and Diddy launching Sign Your Life Away Bad Boy Records are more pivotal moments in the development of Black music. These exclusions are the root of a Janet stan’s anger.

As to state the old Janet stan "Superbowl" scapegoat, there is no point in going into that. We are all well aware of the impact that the iconic titty had on Janet's career. Janet spent the next four years rebuilding her brand, and finally got somewhat back into good graces with an ill-fated 2008 U.S. tour. But as Janet was born with two strikes, being Black and being a woman, the struggle to be recognized for her work has always been more of a battle. When you assess the situation, you can't help but to hypothesize about the role of racial injustice in America, and the media's attempts to make Janet Public Enemy #1. I recommend you read this article here on that topic.  It's just like Whitney Houston being labeled as a crack head, but on February 12, 2012 she became the "Queen of Pop". But fortunately Janet's career is not a creation of media hype, thus the media's attempts brainwash the public into thinking Janet Jackson is nothing more than a figment of our imagination was unsuccessful. It appears "certain artists" are only headline news when the media can paint the subject in a negative light. Janet's level of influence on pop culture threatens that of her counterparts and contemporaries to the point where she has matched them and eclipsed them. Janet rivals the GREAT greats, and those who are subconsciously aware of this make note of it. I won't give any contemporary examples, but you get what I'm getting at. There are many unseen factors that play into Janet being shunned by critics and publications in order to praise a similar artist for the same contributions. This has happened on numerous occasions from Billboard, VH1, BET, and a number of other media outlets. The list goes down the block if you want to take it there.

Today’s artists seem to be more of an influence on the industry than the near 40 years of entertainment Janet has bestowed upon the entertainment world, as the critics make it out to be. There's also the the influence Janet has had on all of her peers that critics and people fail to recognize. But again, everyone will remain nameless, but you can guess what peers I'm talking about. Janet’s contributions to the industry are constantly overlooked and downplayed in favor of more overrated artists. The injustice of Janet being unrecognized for her impact and influence on the industry is the plight of a Janet stan. 

Jul 11, 2011

The Polarized Nation

I have been gone for a while; I was busy trying to figure out why Janet chose to tour looking like she just stepped off the set of Poetic Justice with a masculine twist. But that's neither here nor there. And with the tour going on, there hasn't been much to discuss, well other than the tour, and the new space Janet will be in after the tour. 

Nearly two years ago Janet released her second greatest hits compilation, Number Ones. From the beginning, the entire Number Ones Era was going to be a strategic operation to return Janet to her former glory. The hits compilation served as a promotional product to resonate Janet's name back into the general public. The American Music Awards performance and the X-Factor performance were complimentary assignments that corroborated with the objective of the era. As the winter of 2010 came, Janet used the fashion shows in Europe as an excuse to go eat. Gil has gone off the record stating that he's had to make calls to several restaurants. Not to make sure Janet could be accommodated, but to warn the chef that Janet was coming. But we won't get in to that. Two films, Why Did I Get Married Too and For Colored Girls, and the Essence Music Festival were all tools in aiding the resurgence of Janet's image and popularity. The two films together added another near $100 million to Janet's total box office gross. Essence Music Festival gave Janet her second largest concert audience following the 72,000 Rodeo Houston show. 2009 and 2010 were very productive years, and executed very well. Following the Essence Music Festival, Janet announced she was going on tour, and several of you acted like you did when you learned Janet had separated from Papa Smurf

So it's been a few months since the start of tour. Tour started out in Asia, moved to the US, and now Janet is in Europe. Obviously this is the world tour we were supposed to get in 2008. Unfortunately the last tour got cut short by Janet's desire to take advantage of the $4.99 Grand Slam at Denny's. That "vertigo" was caused by Janet using too much hot sauce on her eggs. In any event, the tour continues to be a success. Date after date, Janet continues to sell out all while blessing each city with her gospel. Despite alienating her fan base overseas, Janet has still managed to sell out dates internationally, thus remaining a testament that Janet still does have fans across the globe. It was just Janet's willingness to reach out to them. The tour acts as a tool to rebuild Janet's name in places she has alienated over the years, namely Europe. Although Janet is performing at banquet halls and closets, she continues to sell out in the midst of three unnoticed albums, no sizable hits, or any major promotion other than the hits compilation, a true testament of her star power and impact in Europe. There is obviously still demand for her wherever she goes. She shows up, and shows out, just like Christians say Jesus does (coincidence? I think not), and gets rave reviews. I'm sure we all still get a giggle when concert critics claim she singing live. But we won't get in to that. We'll just stay committed to their words and defend to the death that Janet IS singing live because we were there, and we could hear her breath when she breathed into the mic. But we won't elaborate on that anymore. Janet is singing live......

So what does this mean for the future of Janet? This new space isn't the drive thru at Dairy Queen. It isn't the space below Wissam's navel. It's a good space. Well for Janet, the space below Wissam's navel is a good space. Just recently Janet appeared on a UK show hosted by Julius Caesar's second cousin:

Janet announced the tour is supposedly going to last until 2012, and that she was going back to the States, Australia, Africa, and possibly South America. Surely everyone was excited that Janet was finally touring the world again, but was then pissed when they realized that we wouldn't be getting an album until sometime next year, if that. But, once again, it's all strategy. Rebuild the fan base, and that will set Janet up for a successful album with her next release. It seems like Janet is ready to become "Janet Jackson" once again, and not "Escalade with the '92 Sentra". The question becomes whether or not tour success will translate into album success. As Janet says, "It's in God's hands."

The other day I was in Target and came across People magazine’s Top 100 Celebrities Who Define Our Time. Just out of curiosity, with little to no faith, I wanted to see if Janet was listed. Lo and behold, she was not. For some reason, it did not come as a surprise. I have become accustomed to Janet get shafted as if what she has done to and for this industry is dismissible. And it reminded me of the recent stir of publications that had excluded Janet. I'll start off with the most recent, Rolling Stone's "Readers Poll: The Queen of Pop" list. For some odd reason, they left off Janet. Now, other than Madonna, the only other person the media has called the "Queen of Pop" and used it to symbolize status, rather than a punch line for other female artists, is Janet. Then there was also VH1's 100 Greatest Arists of All Time, where somehow Janet was placed on the waiting list, while other more transcendent artists such as Alicia Keys, Sade, Justin Timberlake, and LL Cool J ranked on the list. I actually saw the "Bubbling Under" list. Janet was 5th, behind Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Olivia Newton-John, and the guy that does the voice over on movie promos. Apparently VH1 only chose the best of the best. Rolling Stone did another poll asking who the best dancer of all time is. That title would go to Mariah Carey, obviously, but I took a stroll over to view the votes. Out of the 300 votes I saw, I only saw TWO votes for Janet. Did I vote? No. Why? Because I don't have a Facebook. Why don't I have Facebook? Because I'm still trying to make MySpace happen. Do not judge me. There is something about using HTML formats to express myself that gives me a sense of individualism. Rolling Stone's "Queen of Pop" was a poll for votes. So what's going on here? Is Janet secretly trying to be shunned from our memories as if she didn't happen? Can 30 years of influence been erased? Could it be that we, as fans, are not doing our job in supporting Janet? The last time Janet ranked on a respectable publication's list was 2008 on Billboard's Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists, where Janet placed 7th, above the likes of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, The Rolling Stones, and Aretha Franklin. Although there's the notion that lists don't validate Janet's impact and influence, but these lists illustrate the support Janet has from her fans. These lists indicate that Janet's impact and influence is recognized by industry insiders. These lists indicate how Janet has resonated within the industry. What's a great song if its only recognized by the public? We can't trust the buying public. The buying public "elected' Bush into office, TWICE.  The icing on the cake is making a great song, and it being recognized by critics as being one of the greatest pieces of work in musical history. There's nothing worse than creating a great body of work, and it goes unnoticed. Every artist wants to be recognized for their work. It's no different from a prostitute's job on the corner. If she, or he (this is 2011 after all, can't put anything past anyone), is giving the best hand jobs, they want to be recognized for it by the pimps, or industry insiders. So I say this to you all, there needs to be a bit more mobilization and activeness within the fan community. Continuing to be dormant and not supporting Janet the way we SHOULD be, and then turning around and complaining about her failing to rank on different lists, countdowns, etc is only a direct result of dormancy. It follows the old quote, "If you don't vote, then you don't get to complain."

"Ask not what Janet can do for you, but what you can do for Janet."
- Rhythmless Nation 

Feb 26, 2011

25 Years Of Control

Despite being an acclaimed child actress and star of Good Times, Diff'rent Strokes, and Fame, Janet Jackson was expected to enter music. In 1982, she released her self-titled debut album, producing her first top 10 R&B hit "Young Love". Two years later, Janet followed up with Dream Street, also producing the top 10 R&B hit "Don't Stand Another Chance". For her third release, John McClain of A&M Records suggested Janet work with an up-and-coming producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to produce her next album. Desperate to take control of her own musical vision, flew to Minneapolis to meet with the production duo in hopes of recording what would become her breakthrough album. Janet adapted to the hustle and bustle of Minneapolis, and found inspiration from past experiences that would later resonate into the theme of the album. Satisfied with Jimmy and Terry, Janet recorded what would be her breakthrough album, Control.

Give us this day our daily Control
And forgive us our dragging of the uninformed
As we forgive those who stan for the abominable lessors
And lead us not into asking what she's done for us lately
But deliver us from classic me with a modern twist
For thine is the Pleasure
And the Principle
And the soundtrack to independence, forever


Courtesy of Night Senses of Pulse Music Board #HomagePaid

25 Years of Control

Released: February 4, 1986
US Sales - 5x platinum (should be 6 or 7x platinum)
Worldwide sales - 14,000,000+
Billboard 200: #1 (2 weeks) 106 weeks total
Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums: #1

Year End Charts:

#6 Biggest Selling Album of 1986
#5 Biggest Selling Album of 1987


Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks: #1 (2 weeks)
The Billboard Hot 100: #4
Hot 100 Airplay: #8
Hot Dance Music/Club Play: #2
Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales: #1

RIAA - Gold

Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks: #1
The Billboard Hot 100: #3
Hot 100 Airplay: #5
Hot Dance Music/Club Play: #2
Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales: #6

RIAA - Gold

Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks: #3
The Billboard Hot 100: #1 (2 weeks)
Hot 100 Airplay: #1 (2 weeks)
Hot Dance Music/Club Play: #1
Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales: #3

RIAA - Gold

Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks: #1
The Billboard Hot 100: #5
Hot 100 Airplay: #4
Hot Dance Music/Club Play: #1
Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales: #2

RIAA - Gold

Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks: #1
The Billboard Hot 100: #2
Hot 100 Airplay: #4

Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks: #1
The Billboard Hot 100: #14
Hot 100 Airplay: #13
Hot Dance Music/Club Play: #1
Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales: #8

UK: #59


American Music Awards

1987 - Favorite Soul/R&B Female Video Artist
1987 - Favorite Soul/R&B Single - Nasty
1988 - Favorite Pop/Rock Video - When I Think Of You
1988 - Favorite Soul/R&B Video - When I Think Of You

Billboard Awards

1986 - Top Black Artist of the Year (combined albums + singles)
1986 - Top Pop Singles Artist
1986 - Top Dance Sales Artist
1986 - Top Club Play Artist
1986 - Top Black Singles Artist
1986 - Top Pop Singles Artist - Female
1986 - Top Black Single
1986 - Top Black Album

Soul Train Awards

1987 - Female Album Of The Year
1987 - Best Music Video - What Have You Done For Me Lately
1988 - Best Music Video - Control

Edison Awards

1987 - Album Of The Year

MTV Video Music Awards

1987 - Best Choreography in a Video - Nasty
1988 - Best Choreography in a Video - The Pleasure Principle

Radioscope Awards

1986 Radioscope Award for Best Female Vocalist

BPI Sales Awards

1986 - What Have You Done For Me Lately - Silver Award - Won
1986 Control - Silver Award - Won

DMC DJ Awards

1986 - Best Female Vocalist


Control is the first album by a female to produce 5 top 5 singles.

Control is the first album by a female to produce 6 top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Control is the first album to have each of its singles peak in each of the top 5 slots on the Billboard Hot 100.

At age 19, "When I Think Of You" made Janet the youngest artist to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, since Stevie Wonder, making Janet the youngest Black female to reach #1 on the chart.

"When I Think Of You," also made Janet and Michael Jackson the ONLY siblings in history to have #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Control received a record twelve nominations from the American Music Awards - a record that remains unbroken 25 years later.

Control made history when 5 of its singles reach #1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop charts.

Other Noted achievements

Control is also Included in Vibe's 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century

#58 Biggest selling album of US BMG Music Club

"Nasty" ranked as VH1's 45th Best Songs of the Past 25 Years

"What Have You Done for Me Lately" was ranked by Blender Magazine as the 341st top song in their "Top 500 Songs of the 80s-00s (2005)" publication

The Guardian (UK) ranked Control one of the 1000 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

Slant Magazine ranks Control as one of the 50 Essential Pop Albums

Pause & Play inducted Control into their "Albums Inducted into a Time Capsule, One Album per Week"

"Nasty" was ranked by VH1 as the 45th Greatest Song of the 80s

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame named Control (#86) as one of the 200 Definitive Albums of All Time.

MOJO (UK) lists Control under "MOJO 1000 - The Ultimate CD Buyers Guide"

"Nasty" was named by Rolling Stone Magazine the #79 Greatest Song Of Rock & Roll History

Eggen & Kartvedt (Norway) listed Control in "The Guide to the 100 Important Rock Albums (1999)"

Control was named by OOR (Netherlands) as the 58th greatest album of the 80s.

Control is ranked by Rolling Stone as the 28th Greatest Album of the 80s

Uncut (UK) published "The 100 Greatest Singles from the Post-Punk Era (2001)" listing "Nasty" at number 100

Why "Control" Is Important

According to Janet's biography, "Control" brought Janet into the collaborative mix of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis: a relationship that created a musical fusion of pop, r&b, soul, dance, jazz, rock and rap that continues today." Control is the quintessential coming-of-age album. It has set the standard for artists declaring independence, and its often referenced as the album that defines an artist finally coming into their sound and form. From declaring independence and taking life by the horns, to practicing abstinence and empowering women, the album chronicles the life of a young girl's transition into womanhood. Control announced the arrival of a new R&B star, no longer in the shadows of her famous brothers, but coming into her own. Janet was edgy and boastful, yet so timid and vulnerable. Control was an instant smash in the U.S. and around the world, selling a staggering 14 million copies.

In his 2006 work, The New Blue Music, musicologist Richard J. Ripani noted that "Control" was responsible for bridging the gap between R&B and rap music. Ripani highlighted that "Control is important to the development of R&B for a number of reasons. The primary producers of Control, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and Jackson herself, crafted a new sound that fuses the rhythmic elements of funk and disco, along with heavy doses of synthesizers, percussion, sound effects, and a rap music sensibility." By the time Control had launched Janet to superstar status, other producers such as Teddy Riley used Control as a template to create a sound for other R&B artists of the late 80s. Riley's use of the Control template later evolved into what would become New Jack Swing of the late 80s and early 90s. Sean "Diddy" Combs also used the Control album as a template for creating the sounds of his artists such as Mary J. Blige, The Notorious B.I.G, and TLC. From that, artists such as Keith Sweat, Michael Jackson, MC Hammer, Boyz II Men, EnVogue, Mary J. Blige, TLC, and Paula Abdul all have Janet to thank for giving them a sound to use to enjoy success.

The videos from the Control album are among the first videos from a female artists to feature full-choreography. The videos became the template for females who incorporated dance routines into their videos. "Nasty" is said to be the video that brought older brother Michael Jackson to tears.

The Legacy of Control

Thanks to @AlexWilder's twitpic account for finding this pic

25 years after its release, Control continues to be the stanard for artists finding themselves artistically and musically, and continues to rest on its pedestal as one of the most influential albums of all time. Upon its release, Billboard stated, "Control is a better album than Diana Ross has made in five years and puts Janet in a position similar to the young Donna Summer's — unwilling to accept novelty status and taking her own steps to rise above it." Three years later, The New York Times suggested Control was responsible for the careers of Jody Watley, Paula Abdul and Neneh Cherry. Other acts influenced by the Control album include Pebbles, Sharon Byrant, Vanessa Williams, and Karyn White.

While being awarded Billboard's "Artistic Achievement" award in 1995, Billboard noted that Control was held as one of the landmark releases of the past 20 years. In 1998, singer Toni Braxton praised Control for being the album that made children of preachers feel comfortable embracing their femininity and sexuality. In 2007, Jay-Z likened Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad album to Control in that Rihanna has found her voice and her sound the way Jackson did 21 years ago. The following year, during the R. Kelly trials, defense counsel Sam Adam Jr. stated, "That's how you gotta talk with those people," he said. "They know Janet Jackson: They know she had that famous song, 'What Have You Done for Me Lately?' They understand." Former editor-in-chief of Vibe magazine, Danyel Smith told ABC in an 2009 interview that Control was quietly one of the most significant albums of the last 25 years cementing Janet as her own person.

In itself, "What Have You Done For Me Lately" has become a notorious American statement, having been quoted by everyone from president Barack Obama to comedian Eddie Murphy. International pop icon Beyonce Knowles featured the spoken dialogue at the beginnig of the song on her 2009 I tour. The famous "LatelyBass" preset on the Yamaha TX81Z (used extensively on house and techno songs of the late '80s and '90s) was based on the bass tone of "Lately", and subsequently named after it as well. Similarly, Janet's most quoted lyric, "No my first name aint baby, it's Janet. Ms Jackson if you're nasty" became a mantra for the empowerment of women to protest the objectification of women in pop culture, and society. One reviewer of Control paralleled the ubiquitous catchphrase to that of Aretha Franklin's "Respect" as songs that empower women of all backgrounds.

Christina Aguilera stated she grew up being mesmerized by videos from Control including "What Have You Done For Me Lately" and "When I Think Of You". Britney Spears peformed the song during her "Baby One More Time" Tour in 1999. Singer/actress Jennifer Lopez also stated "Pleasure Principle" video was one of the two videos that encouraged her to pursue a career in entertainment ("Alright" being the other). The video also features Janet employing a 50's style microphone as a prop in her choreography. The same concept can be found in R&B singer Ciara's music video "Promise". Rapper Nas listed "Control" as one of his Top 10 favorite videos on BET's Top 25 Video Countdown. There are reports international pop icon Whitney Houston sang the same song during a concert in 1988.

Courtesy of Rocket Love of Pulse Music Board 

Dec 2, 2010

The State Of The Nation Address

Mama Yoke, Vice President Jimmy Jam, members of the Nation, distinguished stans, and fellow fans:

Our Constitution declares that from time to time, the President shall give to The Nation information about the state of our union. For 44 years, our leaders have fulfilled this duty. They've done so during periods of prosperity and tranquility. And they've done so in the midst of war and depression; at moments of great strife and great struggle. I am here to bring you the 2011 State of the Nation Address.

Two score and four years ago, a fetus came strutting down Katherine’s birth canal. This child was the recreation of Christ, as Christ has stated that he created her in his image. This child would be named Janet Damita Jo Jackson. Little did we know this child would deal with a troubled world in a positive way. She would take us on an escapade to the Promised Land. In 1982, she began creating a book, ten chapters and counting, about the basic instructions before leaving Earth. She used each of these chapters to tell us a story, her story. It gave us an insight to her life, and allowed us to connect with her on a secular and personal level. And it’s not an autobiography, but there are just anecdotes from Janet’s childhood until now. With each album, Janet has taught us something new or we have learned something about her. We have learned she doesn’t like nasty cars or nasty food. She taught us how to spell the word “miss”. We all have a need to feel special. Do her wrong and she’ll get in that ass. Janet is a modern day Socrates. As we look back at the last 28 years of Janet’s career, we stand in awe. Over 100 million albums sold. 34 #1s across different Billboard charts. Sold out world tours. Turned water into wine. Built the careers of the kids who followed. Yes, Janet has done it all. 15 years of stratospheric success. Let’s have a look back and what transpired during those 15 years:

  • Emerged as one of the biggest artists of the 80s
  • Came out from behind the shadow of the biggest star to ever walk the planet, Michael Jackson
  • Had critics place her in the ranks of Michael and Madonna with the release of ONE album
  • Released an album that created New Jack Swing
  • Co-authored the peace treaty to end Persian Gulf War
  • Praised by Michael Jackson, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, and was admired by Princess Diana of Wales
  • Ranked as the second most successful female artist of all time
  • Created the template for sex in the music industry
  • Had Stevie Wonder call her album the greatest pop album in history
A chip off the old block if I may say so myself. Some artists have been in the industry 10 and 15 years and still have not come close to those achievements. Poor them. The past year or so has been good to us. We got our second greatest hits compilations disc. Janet gave us a stellar performance in Why Did I Get Married Too. And it was great because the golf club scene was very therapeutic and cathartic and you’ll see that in the film. She stole the show on the American Idol season finale. Ended the War in Iraq. Headlined the Essence Music Festival, and starred in her 5th film, For Colored Who Have Considered Suicide After Seeing Janet’s Harem Pants In The “Nothing” Video. Yes, we all know we did not like those pants. Hell, even Janet wasn’t taking the blame for those pants. I don’t blame her either.

In the passing months, we’ve noticed it is becoming okay to like Janet Jackson again. We are starting to see a lot of bandwagoning. A lot of Michael’s fans jumped on Janet’s bandwagon expecting her to become Michael, or at least live variously through her. After all, Janet is the female Michael Jackson. In fact, they are the same person. However, this wont be the last time we see bandwagoning. Bangwagoning is common in stan land. It occurs when two or more stans who stan for opposing artists, one superior and another inferior, have a subtle disagreement that ultimately escalates into a battle and one stan milks an artist irrelevant to the discussion in an attempt to “win” the battle. For example: when the Justin Bieber stans felt their testes drop, they thought they could try their luck with the Michael stans. When the Mike stans kindly reminded them of their place, the Justin Bieber stans begin referencing The Beatles because Justin’s achievements do not hold a candle to Mike’s. Oddly enough, when stans bandwagon, they know almost nothing about the artist they are milking to win their battles .

It seems that a lot of fans have come back to the Janet land after they jumped shipped around 2004. But it is fine since it’s okay to like Janet again. We are finally coming back to form. Janet is finally getting back to her R&B roots, because that’s where it all started…with the Control album and Rhythm Nation, and even the janet. album. The young kids are referencing her more often now than in the past couple of years. Kids are doing 8 counts Janet did back when she didn’t need a new hip after each tour. It seems like Janet is finally getting some credit for her work, despite the media trying to act like she hasn’t done anything. And people wonder why we are not too happy as a stan group. We’ve dealt with Janet going unnoticed for her impact. The most recent, is rather questionable, to say the least. Whitney Houston, LL Cool J, Justin Timberlake, and Alicia Keys over Janet?


Really? That’s what we do now? I enjoy said artists (minus Justin Timberlake, I’m not here for Usher clones), but none of them have come close to releasing an album as important as janet. or even Control. The Control album created the New Jack Swing genre, arguably the most popular genre of music from 1987 – 1995. But who gets the credit? Teddy Riley and Babyface. The album is responsible for the careers of Pebbles, Sharon Bryant, Jody Watley, and most notably Paula Abdul. Their careers were founded on being Janet clones. Labels packaged artists and milked them for the time being. Unfortunately, all of their careers ended September 12, 1989, or shortly thereafter. I won’t even discuss this:

After its inception by Janet, many artists started using headset microphones on tours, and even in their regular performances. But has Janet gotten the credit? No. And other stans wonder why there is spite towards the amount of praise other acts get. Is it out of jealousy? No. For instance, R&B music really came into fruition in the 1980s. The 60s and early 70s were plagued with soul and blues music. In 1974, disco music became the genre for Blacks to move records. It wasn’t until the 1980s that R&B TRULY came into the form we know today. Janet helped to shape and mold this “form”. No act of her caliber was doing R&B and moving units like Janet. Whitney did not start doing heavy R&B until after she got booed at the Soul Train awards. At which point, she got on the New Jack Swing bandwagon, something Janet created with Control, and got praised for it. And we won’t even discuss how Michael’s Dangerous is nothing more than his Rhythm Nation 1814. But the media, nor his fans, would dare state the obvious, for the obvious reason(s). A considerable amount of the reason why acts of today can sell R&B music internationally, and move tens of millions of albums, is because Janet introduced it to them with Control, Rhythm Nation 1814, and janet. Someone had to break the mold. The world didn’t just start liking a genre that was only successful stateside. I challenge you to find an R&B album as successful as Control was prior to 1986. So as loyal stans, it is ridiculous how other acts get credit for things Janet innovated or popularized. This is why many Janet fans and stans may come off as bitter, jealous, whatever. Now, we’re not saying Janet is the creator of the music industry, but her influence and impact has been under the radar for quite some time.

We have to remember 40s is mid age. Janet is in transition from young Janet to menopausal Janet. So don’t be surprised if she starts getting a little snappy in her interviews. As we progress, we seem to regress. Not because of Janet, but because of other stans. Yes, Janet is a legend, an icon, a trendsetter, etc. But for some odd reason, Janet always seems to get looped into comparisons by today’s acts. I have encountered Janet being compared to the likes of Rihanna, Ciara, Beyoncé, Britney, and any other run of mill chick who has put a song in the top ten of the Hot 100. I’m not sure if it’s because Janet can still compete and give the girls a run for their money, or if it's because Janet isn't a second rate diva who can't sustain.

Whatever the case may be, I’m sure there’s an underlying reason. The beauty of pointless stan wars with these stans is that they understand her greatness. From the time Control dropped, it was seen as a fluke, Janet got lucky with a hit album. But when Rhythm Nation 1814 was released, the critics acted like they were guests on a surprise episode of Oprah’s Favorite Things. It only took one album for Janet to get into the ranks of Michael and Madonna. Some acts have upwards of 5 albums, and still have not had any of their albums compared to Michael or Madonna’s. They understand that the only acts who can top Janet are Michael and Madonna. They understand Janet created the template for their careers. They understand their faves are influenced by Janet in one way or another. They understand her impact and influence on the industry is far greater than their half brains can fathom. If being tertiary to Michael and Madonna is an insult, then it’s a very kind one considering that it shows a) Janet can compete with both of them, and b) those are her only peers. It really speaks more to Janet considering the essence that is Michael Jackson and Madonna, arguably the two most popular artists of all time. You can’t touch Janet's discography...or her videography...unless you’re Madonna...or Michael...which means everyone else pales in comparison, right? Don’t you just love the self shade? 

Don’t see a page for Whitney. Don’t see one for Michael. Don’t see one for Mariah. Don’t see one for Madonna.

But that’s neither here nor there.

We just want Janet to be successful again. Every stan wants to see their artist at the top. We want Janet to get the respect she deserves, the credit she deserves, and the success she deserves. It’s not asking much. We have choices. Take the avenue of continuing new music, or going for that Oscar, because unlike others, Janet is actually respected as an actress. And people forget that Janet started out on Good Times. Because acting is Janet’s first passion, it’s what she started out doing. And she’s finally getting back to that. Her acting has definitely improved since the days when Justice threatened to kick your ass if you kicked her cat. Janet is need of roles that will stretch her to where she can display her acting potential. We have to remember, Halle and Whoopi didn’t become Oscar worthy overnight. If Janet chooses to pursue film, we are starting a new phase of her career. It’s a new space. We need that “Control” role. The role that makes Hollywood respect Janet even more as an actress. If Janet chooses to go with music, it’s a very risky move. We all know Janet’s past handful of albums have been quite dismal in sales. The public has been warming back up to her since Discipline, but that is not enough to make Janet succeed. As a woman whose level of fame was, at one point, greater than Michael and Madonna’s, she needs to focus on creating music that is secular. Music that catapulted her to megastar status. Music that taught us to celebrate life, and how to suck a mean cock.

[side note]

Just recently, Janet announced she was going on her biggest world tour ever:

So members of The Nation, when tricking on the corners to pay for your tickets, remember a few simple rules:

1.   Don’t work for free – hoeing backwards has never been profitable

2.   Get paid for all labor performed – tricking is not a volunteer service

3.   Carry your blade with you in your wig at all times – if something pops off, the cops will not help you (for obvious reasons)

4.   Protect yourselves – tricking is short term, STDs are long term. It’s not the win-win

5.   Avoid Durex – their condoms break easily…or so I’ve heard

6.   Trick in groups of two or more – many hands make for light work; lend a hand to help your brother/sister do his/her best

7.   Remember the hot spots – downtown near clubs, corners near corporate offices, check cashing parking lots, etc

8.   Keep away from the drunks – the last thing you want is a date rape charge on your record

9.   Know your customers – if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck…he/she is probably under 18, stay away

10. Know your limits – golden showers and Cleveland steamers are pushing it. Remember, although this is for Janet, you should never compromise your self-respect…unless you want the VIP seats

11. Above all else – remember, this is for Janet.
So where are we as a Nation? We’re in a new space. And it’s a happy space. We finally feel like we’re coming into our own. This new space hopefully won’t be between the cracks in JD’s heart or Mariah’s live vocal performances. But a space where Janet feels like she can finally rest, because her corns are starting to hurt her feet. We are looking towards the future, where Janet will be in another new space. The future is looking bright. So remember, ask not what Janhova can do for you, but what you can do for Janhova.

Oct 5, 2010

The Rhythmless Nation

In 1989, a young nappy headed trollop named Janet Jackson sought out to deal with a trouble world in a positive way. With her two ace boon coons Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, she created Rhythm Nation 1814. She called for an end to color lines and to unify as one. Successfully, she accomplished her goal. Sadly, those who unified still exhibited lines that differentiated the unification. There’s someone who wants to be the head hoe on the corner. There’s a struggling hoe trying to make his/her way up the totem pole. And then there’s the charity hoe, the one struggling for “business”, so everyone “chips in” to help the charity hoe.

In the past couple of months, I’ve sat and watched Janet stans turn fandom into a cult. What went from being in a fan community became being a member of Heaven’s Gate. My sanity inhibits my ability comment on this silliness, but even if I could, I would not go there. But for the sake of time, I’ll play along with the malarkey. In the past couple of months I’ve watched different blogs try to categorize Janet stans into a box, and generalize. As we’ve learned some time ago, generalizing can be detrimental. So we won’t go there. Instead, categorizing Janet’s stans and explaining common characteristics of each group is more befitting than overall generalizing.

The Utopia Stans

Somewhere over the rainbow the Utopia stans reside. These stans can often be confused with having been drug induced with LSD/Angel Dust because in their world, Janet is the creator of everything existing. Jimmy and Terry co-wrote ALL the holy books with Janet. Socrates based his philosophical ideas off the Rhythm Nation 1814 album, Aphrodite is seen as a rip off of janet. album Janet, and Control is the template for Western thought. In this world, unicorns and mermaids populate the land. Janet can do no wrong. Having 3 singles released and later calling them “buzz singles” and 2 of which failing to make the Hot 100 bubbling is “epic”. Negativity does not exist in these mythical lands of perfection. It is best to just leave them be, and let them live. 

The Disciple Stans

These are some of the best stans in the stan community. These are the carefree stans. They could care less about album sales, charting singles, promotion etc. They just enjoy the music and don’t let simple speed bumps effect their enjoyment of Janet. The “Easy” button is always in arms reach, and the panic button is somewhere lost in the commotion with the fickle stans. They know Janet will make a way in the end and everything will be fine once the dust settles. These stans get along well with the Wise Men stans due to similar perspectives on a number of Janet related things. The Disciple stans are instrumental in maintaining sanity on the board when some stans prematurely hit the panic button. 

The “Fast Girls” Stans

The Fast Girls stans are the youngest of the Janet stan community. They usually range in age from the time their testicles/eggs drop to about 18. They came on board around the time Janet became an attention whore and decided to pop out her baby well at the Super Bowl back in 2004. Bless their hearts. Only Janet’s slave titty could bring together so many youth looking for guidance. They don’t understand “Janet Jackson”. They don’t quite understand Janet’s status in the industry. They don’t understand that she’s an icon, a legend, a raging sexaholic with bad breath. For some reason she should still compete with the lesser girls today’s acts. They want Janet to perform at every award show, every fashion show, and every 1st Street Baptist Church barbeque. (Who made the potato salad?). If Rihanna gets man handled in the passenger seat of her Kia Sephia, Janet should do that as well. To them, Janet is bringing awareness to domestic violence and it’ll help her album sales. If Beyoncé goes to court for using her five finger discount in the recording studio, Janet should do that too. To them, Janet is getting her feet wet with the justice system so when she doesn’t want to do music anymore, she can become a lawyer. Some of them just don’t get it. They say things like, “20 Y.O. is my favorite Janet album” or “I didn’t even know Janet and Michael were brother and sister.” And where else would such ridiculousness be posted??? Often times they are the ones who give Janet stans a bad rep. They make other stans look un-Janeducated. They haven’t really been exposed to Janet’s entire legacy but they are slowly learning. So we forgive them, at times. They don't know any better. 

The Wise Men Stans

The wise men stans are a relatively small group that accounts for a small percentage of the Janet stan population. More than likely these are the fans that were “of age” when Control dropped shortly after the signing of the Magna Carta. They’ve watched Janet go from a shy young girl, to a musical politician, to a slut for sale, to a psychiatric ward escapee. They’ve grown up with Janet, and watch her evolve as a person and as an artist. Contrary to the Janhova’s Witnesses, The Wise Men stans are less likely to frivol time away comparing Janet’s stats to those of the lesser girls. They know wherever the young girls are, and wherever they’re going, Janet has already been and did it bigger and better. Because they grew up with Janet, they are aware of her impact and what she has done in the industry. So there’s really nothing you can tell them about Janet. However, much like Janet, they keep to themselves. But after much provocation, they reach their breaking point and snap. Their shut downs are quick, soft, subtle, and informative. They’re seasoned slayers and have had decades years of practice. The gay ones are lethal and can stab via font. The straight ones, not so much, but still deadly.   

The Janhova’s Witnesses

You know how politicians, middle school teachers, and drug dealers stress the importance of extracurricular activities so kids won’t get into trouble? The Janhova’s Witnesses are “those kids”. They are usually between the ages of 18 and 26, often male, female, both, or Ciara to be determined. Rather than doing something constructive with their time, the Janhova’s Witnesses choose to spend their day listening to Janet’s albums, learning her dance routines, tweeting her, etc. This group has been following Janet since the 90s when Janet’s knees weren’t buckling after each 8 count and she didn’t need a daily supply poligrip. The Janhova’s Witnesses are usually the creative bunch of the stan population and are responsible for popularizing the term “Janhova’s Witness”. They keep Janet’s name relevant in the foolery other stans partake in. That includes foolishness like this, this, and this. So I suppose under those pretenses they do exhibit some level of sanity. These are the stans who collect wigs in Janet’s honor during a stan war. They know ALL of Janet’s stats: album sales, charts, tour gross, weight gain/loss, blood type, and even have a urine sample. The Witnesses’ purpose in a stan war becomes non-existent at a point. They know Janet’s status is above those who they’re arguing with, but they join in just to pass the time. There’s no REAL objective and it ultimately leads to nowhere. Formidable Witnesses, aka Janazis, are known to be ruthless in stan wars. These are the ones to steer clear of because like MJ stans, sometimes they drag in droves and you just will not win. It will get ugly, and personal.

The “State of the World” Stans

You know how when you’re in class, and there’s always that one person who is two syllables away from you skinning them alive? This is them. The “State of the World” stans are the panickers , the worriers, the fairweathers, the ones who bring pure chaos to the board. They are the people who make you question the legitimacy of the Bill of Rights. These are the ones who you secretly want to cause bodily harm to. These are the stans who panic when the slightest problem goes wrong. A simple lighting miscalculation will lead them to believe the lights of the stadium will go out and the rest of the tour will get canceled. Janet not getting enough promotion will cause the album to tank. A single that doesn’t debut on the charts minutes after downloading the leak is an omen of failure. Their fandom is contingent upon how high or low Janet is on the charts, how many awards Janet receives, or how many wings Janet ordered from Church’s. Sometimes it’s okay to wear your fandom on your sleeve, but sometimes it isn’t. These fans are what cause other fans to not enjoy the music. Speaking from a personal experience, I was in love with 20 Y.O. when I first bought it. Then I joined Janet-Xone. They are the most vocal, but the least helpful. Sometimes proposed solutions are often proceeded by, “Well Madonna…”, or whomever is currently having success is what Janet should do to be successful. These fans are fickle. They don’t take up for Janet by any means. Their fandom is questionable. They aren’t too popular in the fan community. [side note: why do I feel like I just analyzed half of Janet-Xone? Odd…] These fans should be left out in the pastures, or in a ditch begging for mercy if you ask me.

So I think I’ve covered all the fans within the fan community. But no time to sit and think, I got an idea for another post. Stay tuned.

[Damn this is a long song].