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An open letter to Janet Jackson:

An open letter to Janet Jackson:

Dear Janet Miss Jackson (I’m nasty),

How unfortunate it is that your family drama has spilled inartfully into the public domain. I’m sorry to say this isn’t new. Squabbles in the Jackson family over money, power, access, and crazy are as old school as “I Want You Back.” Far be it from me to cast judgment or try to understand a very messy situation from which I’m wholly removed. And I do wish your family a speedy and satisfying resolution.

That said, I can’t help but think you’ve lost your way. You were once the coolest lady in the whole entire game. I say this as a die-hard Madonna fan, but there was a unusual refinement to your work that I credit to your sensibility as an artist. Your grooves were at once red hot and ice cool, sensual and danceable, nasty and elegant. You know I’m talking about The Velvet Rope and All For You, but even back to Rhythm Nation, your precision and confidence were electric. “Escapade” is one of the most perfect poppy tunes of the 80’s, and you only got better into your second decade in the game.

Did I mention what a phenomenal dancer you are?

Look, Janet—your family is full of bottom feeders. And I’m not here to pick sides or to determine who’s right or wrong in this Jackson bust-up. But there’s footage of you trying to rip a cell phone from a teenager’s hands, and reports that you called her a “spoiled little bitch.” And to be honest, standing behind your mother during her bizarre taped statement was just awkward. You are by all accounts a key player in this money-grubbing mess, and it doesn’t look good on you.

People are worried about you, Janet. You’re out-Latoyaing Latoya. Whitney Houston said she made way too much money to ever smoke crack, and you make way too much money to stoop to the gutter of Jackson family infighting. You’re a superstar, and playing so prominently into this narrative will only tarnish your reputation. And it already needs help.

What makes this more troublesome is that we’ve only seen you recently in a string of poorly-received movies and weight loss commercials. It’s a crowded field of lady pop singers out there, and even greats struggle to stay musically relevant. Madonna’s arms are scary because of the death grip she has on doing just that. But the point is, you need to remind us why you’re an all-timer. Take a vacation, get back in the studio, give us another “If” or “Doesn’t Really Matter” or, god willing, another “Someone to Call My Lover.” We want Miss Jackson back.

All for you,


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