Janet Jackson: Back In Control 30+ Years Later

(photo credit: BET.com)

Superstar Janet Damita Jo Jackson has been in the news a lot lately. With the birth of her son, her divorce from her billionaire ex-husband, and rumors surrounding both of those, it’s a lot to deal with. But Janet seems to be getting back to Janet with her revived nationwide tour that she put on hold years ago when she announced that she was pregnant. If anyone has seen as Janet Jackson show, you know it’s high energy, very sensual, takes you back down to memory lane and keeps you satisfied with sound pumping hits. But for Janet to do that level of a tour at age 53, you know it’s going to something special.

Janet’s tours are in fact some of the most-grossing tours of all time. The Janet world Tour, the second tour by Janet had her performing on 4 continents 18 countries within the span of 17 months with 123 shows–the most shows Janet has done for any concert. Total attendance for this tour is around 2.5million. And the Velvet Rope World Tour, Janet’s third tour supporting her 6th studio album of the same name. She visited 5 continents and 120 shows. The worldwide gross for Velvet Rope is $78,000,000.

The tours and show at her old age wasn’t about the music, it’s about breaking free. And it’s amazing that it comes just over 30 years since she released her first major hit album, Control.

“Control” was an album about independence. It’s a compelling tale of freedom in which Ms. Jackson liberates herself from the demands of suffocating men to make her own demands. She granted herself permission to define her sexiness, her motivation, her drive and her love.

Ms. Jackson was around 20 when she entered the recording studio after a stint as a sitcom star (poor Penny on “Good Times,” richer Charlene on “Diff’rent Strokes”), an annulled marriage and a split from her notoriously driven father/manager, Joe. So a decree was in order: “When it’s got to do with my life/I want to be the one in control.” That’s from the opening song, “Control,” which begins with a spoken proclamation of self-emancipation: “This is a story about control.”

In the middle of the title track, Ms. Jackson sings, “First time I fell in love/I didn’t know what hit me,” and you can hear a car screeching into a collision. The next song starts with a demand: “Gimme a beat!” And it was the beat that laid the foundation for something hard-hitting, fun, and unforgettable–just like Janet.

(photo credit: Instagram)

So how does one get prepared to go from city to city singing and dancing at age 53? Here’s how Ms. Jackson does it:

1. Change up your routine often:
“I don’t like to work out, and I get bored easily,” Jackson says. “Tony [my trainer] is great. He comes up with something new all the time. When I’m getting ready for a tour, I’ll work out with the dancers to build my endurance. He’ll put us in teams, and we’ll do all sorts of drills and races. Everybody is drenched with sweat before we start one dance step.”

2. Get slim with sports:
“Tony knows that I love sports, so that’s what we’ll often do,” Jackson says. “There are times when I don’t want to run on the beach, so to get me to run on the beach, he’ll bring a football. I’m just like a dog with a tennis ball—I get so excited. And we do drills. Sometimes we go to the batting cages and hit balls. He switches it up all the time. And that’s what I love.”

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