When you think of the Portland music scene, Janet Jackson is not the first name that springs to mind. Ms. Jackson is one of the most enduring stars of pop music. The fact that her music is more popular for its danceability and sexuality, than for her singing voice would suggest that she is not exactly bohemian like us. However, Ms. Jackson’s sense of ethos, her newly socially conscience lyrics and her work with charities gives her more in common with the average Portlander than meets the eye.
In addition to achieving superstardom, Ms. Jackson has also been a major contributor to charity and various social causes. When she was a spokesperson for Nutrisystem, she donated ten million dollars in meals to the hungry. She also participated in public service announcements for UNICIF and was honored at the Cinema Against AIDS gala during the Cannes Film Festival for her contributions to AIDS research.
On Tuesday, January 12 Janet Jackson will grace the Moda Center as part of her Unbreakable World Tour. The show will feature songs from the album of the same name including the hit single, No Sleeep. The album is the first to be released by Ms. Jackson’s own record label, Rhythm Nation which is one of the few labels owned by an African American woman.
Unbreakable is the pop singers eleventh album and debuted at number one on The Billboard 200 chart upon its October release. It is her first studio album with songwriters James Samuel “Jimmy Jam” Harris III and Terry Steven Lewis since 2006. The seventeen track album features performances by Missy Elliott and J. Cole. “Unbreakable” was also the title of a song on her late brother’s last album.
The songs on the album deal with such subjects as her brother Michael’s death (Broken Hearts Heal) and the importance of being socially and politically aware ( Shoulda Known Better.)
Critical reception for Ms. Jackson’s music has not always been kind, but Unbreakable seems to be getting some pretty good reviews. Billboard magazine said that, “Unbreakable is the mature album, free of commercial ambition, her all-too-breakable brother never made.”
Entertainment weekly said the album, “strikes a solid balance between innovation and dependability, bridging past and future better than most—including her legendary sibling.”
Anyone who’s ever seen one of her live performances can tell you that, you never really know what to expect from the pop icon. Her most famous stunt took place at the 2004 Super Bowl. When pop star Justin Timberlake tore off a piece of her outfit revealing her breast while singing his concerto Rock Your Body. The two originally said it was a wardrobe malfunction, but later admitted that the feat had been planned.
Her dance performances have garnered her as much, if not more praise than her singing. Her execution of That’s the Way Love Goes and If at the 1993 VMA Awards made many list of the greatest performances in VMA history. The Mirror said that her Unbreakable performance in Miami left them, “struggling to believe she’s actually 49 years old.”
Ms. Jackson also has quite a few acting credits to her name. She played the cheated on and embezzled from wife a closeted gay man in Tyler Perry’s, For Colored Girls in 2010 as well as making numerous guest staring appearances on television.
Ms. Jackson takes to the Moda Center stage at 8:00 p.m. on January 12. Tickets to the show are $29.00 to $463.00. If you purchase a bundle of an album and merchandise you will get access to the Janet Museum as well as her VIP website.
Eliza Gale – PortlandMetroLive.com Contributor
Eliza Gale began her blogging career interviewing aspiring actors and industry professionals on a Los Angeles based website called Curvewire. She started www.elizagalesintervviews in 2012 and has interviewed over three hundred people about their jobs and businesses since then. She has contributed many interviews to 360drinks.com, which is a Portland based happy-hour website. She also writes for Examiner.com and AXS.com.