It’s almost time for ESSENCE Fest, so it’s almost time for a superstar to rock New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center—-but first, she’s slaying a magazine cover.
The inimitable Janet Jackson graces the cover of ESSENCE magazine’s 2022 Festival of Culture issue and the iconic singer looks like she’s been drinking from the fountain of youth.
Jackson, 56, stunned on the front cover wearing an assortment of jaw-dropping pieces from Desiel, ESAÚ YORI, and GREG LAUREN.
In one photo shot by photographer Yu Tsai, the five-time Grammy-award-winning songwriter and dancer donned a pair of futuristic boots made by LOEWE, showing off her ageless beauty and impeccable cheekbones. The style choice seemed fitting given Jackson’s incredible ability to collide the worlds of fashion, music, and choreography throughout her dynamic career. Known for sporting tight leather ensembles and crop tops that accentuated her washboard abs, the star’s revolutionary style empowered women all around the world to live unapologetically during her rise to fame in the late 90s and early 2000s.
The “Queen Of Pop” Opens Up About Her Previous A&E Documentary
The legendary singer has sold over 100 million records and has amassed an extraordinary catalog of hits including gems like “Nasty”, “Rhythm Nation,” “That’s the Way Love Goes” and “Together.”
Jackson holds the record for the most consecutive top-ten entries on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, reigning victorious with 18. She is also the only artist in the history of the chart to have seven commercial singles from one album (Rhythm Nation 1814) peak within the top five positions.
And while we might love Jackson for her infectious songs, do we really know her? Apparently not really and that’s by design considering that she enjoys her privacy–but we at least got a taste of what she was willing to share back in January.
While speaking to ESSENCE’s Gerrick D. Kennady, the star opened up about her decision to release her riveting four-hour A&E documentary at the top of this year. The intimate piece gave fans a closer look at the ups and downs of her music career including the death of her brother Michael Jackson and that Super Bowl nip slip debacle with Justin Timberlake.
“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,” said Jackson.
“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?”
The Rock & Roll Hall honoree shared more about her meteoric success, why she doesn’t consider herself an R&B innovator, and her plans to drop new music soon much to the delight of her fans!
Read more from the cover story below and don’t forget to grab your copy when it hits newsstands on June 28.
On releasing new music:
“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.”
On getting her just due as an innovator of 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.”
On defining success:
“I’ve never been that person to have my awards on display. There’s nothing wrong with it, that’s just not me. Being able to wake up and see my baby another day. The space might be in at that moment within my soul. What I’ve accomplished within myself. How far I’ve come from that child there to the woman that I am today. That’s a success. If you came to my home, you would never know—if you did not know who I was— that I am an entertainer. I don’t have one award on my wall.”
On what people still get wrong about her:
“When it comes to my personal life, I think mistaking my kindness for weakness. When it comes to my professional life, I would say it would have to be not liking to hear the word “no.” Especially being a woman, and someone telling you, “No, you can’t because…”
YOU can read the full interview here.