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The younger sister of Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson is one of the best-selling artists in contemporary history. Her albums include Control and Rhythym Nation.
The Jackson 5 - Discovery (1:30)
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A short biography of Janet Jackson, who, as a member of the Jackson Dynasty, started her career as a child actress. But she soon made a career for herself in music, and her videos turned her into a music icon.
Smokey Robinson recalls how Michael Jackson and his brothers were discovered by Motown.
Michael Jackson and his brothers lived their childhoods on the road and toured in a volkswagon bus.
From the very beginning, no young star was as talented or passionate as Michael Jackson.
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Janet Jackson is an American recording artist and actress. She is the youngest child of the Jackson family of musicians. She is best known for the hit singles "Nasty", "Rhythm Nation", "That's the Way Love Goes," "Together Again" and "All for You." Jackson is ranked as one of the best-selling artists in the history of contemporary music.
Singer, songwriter and actress Janet Jackson was born May 16, 1966, in Gary, Indiana. The youngest of nine children born to Joseph Walter Jackson and his wife, Katherine, Jackson grew up in the affluence of a show business family.
Her five brothers—Jackie, Tito, Marlon, Jermaine and Michael—signed a contract with Motown Records in 1968 and would go on to rule the charts as The Jackson Five, with such hits as "I Want You Back," "Stop, the Love You Save," "ABC" and "Dancing Machine."
In late 1969, Jackson took her daughters Rebbie, LaToya and Janet, and her youngest son, Randy, to join her husband in Los Angeles, where they had moved to further the band's career. (Tito's twin brother, Brandon, had died within 24 hours of the twins' premature birth in 1957.)
The Jackson children were raised in the Jehovah's Witness faith, as Katherine Jackson had been baptized as a Jehovah's Witness in 1963. LaToya Jackson famously chronicled their tumultuous childhood—including charges of physical and sexual abuse by Joseph Jackson—in her tell-all autobiography, but Janet and others of her siblings disputed LaToya's account. The tensions within the family certainly increased on account of Michael Jackson's emergence as a solo artist and a superstar beginning in the early 1970s.
Janet Jackson first appeared on stage in April 1974, singing and doing impressions alongside her brother Randy in the Jackson family's Las Vegas act. In 1976, she appeared on The Jacksons, a summer replacement television show. Her performance earned her the attention of a producer who hired her to play Penny, a regular on the TV comedy series Good Times, from 1977-79. She continued her television work in the short-lived A New Kind of Family (1979-80), the sitcom Different Strokes (1981-2), and the teen drama Fame (1984-5), based at a New York City performing arts high school.
Unlike many of her siblings, Janet Jackson attended public school in Encino, California, for some time before switching to Valley Professional School, from which she graduated in 1984. During her time on Fame, she was able to break away from her family's supervision while on location in New York. In September 1984, she eloped with James DeBarge, a musician in the group DeBarge, also on the Motown label. Jackson's family disapproved of DeBarge, and the marriage was brief, as she applied for an annulment in January 1985, which was granted the following November.
With the guidance of her brother Michael, she released her debut album Janet Jackson, in 1982. The album reached No.
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Madonna unapologetically celebrated and monetized her sexuality when she began her career in the 1980s. Her bold behavior paved the way for other female performers—including Cyndi Lauper, Britney Spears, and Janet Jackson—giving them the freedom to explore previously taboo roles and take control of their image and career.
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Explore our collection of some of the most famous performers of the highly anticipated Super Bowl from the 1970s through today, including Ella Fitzgerald, Chubby Checker, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, the Rolling Stones, the Black Eyed Peas, No Doubt, Madonna, Cee Lo Green, Nicki Minaj, Usher and Beyoncé.
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Learn more about the lives of African-Americans who have made extraordinary achievements in their fields, with our collection of Black History Groups.
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