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. 

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bravo!

Keith said...

Good piece!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! I hope this get's media attention!

Anonymous said...

Stupid cunt, you're no intellectual + Janet isn't the center of the universe. GET A LIFE

- Dawo

Anonymous said...

Desperate.

Anonymous said...

Very well said. I'm glad someone has spoken!

Darryl

Anonymous said...

Janets career is over. Deal with it. Her singing ability is gone as well as her dancing. Her personality is a total bore and her music sucks. She only cares about endorsement deals now. GET DEM CASH

RoyalKev said...

This article really covered alot of different things worth mentioning. So much has held Janet back. I don't normally hear people touching on everything that is a factor. You've hit it right on the nail. Racism, sexism, being a Jackson even are the main things that don't allow Janet to get what she deserves sometimes. I'm glad that there are others that can see through all of this. It's a sensitive matter , that most people would like to dismiss. I wrote an article myself on racism in the industry (http://www.thepagewithroyalkev.com/search?q=racism). I just think it's unfortunate and people have a hard time accepting the truth, but it doesn't go away on it's own.

Anonymous said...

JANET IS SO LAST CENTURY.

Anonymous said...

Nice.

Anonymous said...

Shes a flop now. desperate for $$$$

Anonymous said...

Truer words have never been spoken. All of the above haters can fuck off and have SEVERAL seats.

Anonymous said...

Great read. 150% TRUE

greengemini23 said...

I spent a day making Spotify playlists of artists with Number Ones on Billboard charts, inspiried by Janet's Number Ones album. The only artist who had more than her at the end of my work was Madonna.

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