In a new interview with Gay.com, Janet reveals how her record label gave her flak for wanting to put Free Xone on her album Velvet Rope, how she loves gang-related drama, documentaries about the future and space and her thoughts on American Idol.
She first shined for us in the ’70s, as little Penny on the hilarious ghetto ’70s sitcom “Good Times.” Then, through the ’80s and ’90s, she wowed us with rock-hard abs and dazzling dance moves — at a time when Britney still had Mickey Mouse ears clinging to her head. We all wanted to be citizens of her “Rhythm Nation,” and her catchy “Control” made us want to lose it.
But today, if you asked Janet Jackson, “What have you done for me lately?” she’d probably say she wants to give you “Discipline,” the title of her new fiercely infectious CD, due out Feb. 26.
And now, even though her infamous boob-baring “wardrobe malfunction” at Super Bowl 2006 is a distant memory, she’s still willing to expose herself. You, our Gay.com members, told us what we should ask Ms. Jackson, and then we chose the top five questions. Read on to see what she says about being a mentor to “Idol” contestants, obsessing over gangsters, doing a cover of Prince and getting love from her gay and lesbian fans.
Do you watch “American Idol”? Would you ever consider being a judge or a mentor on the show?
I’ve never watched a full season of the show, but I have definitely seen it here and there. I think it’s wonderful, but I hate the whole judging process — I’d be horrible at that, just awful. It’s not me at all. But as far as being the mentoring artist, that I could probably do.
Would you ever consider doing an album of remakes of contemporary songs? Our readers think you’d make a great cover of Prince’s “If I Was your Girlfriend.”
[Screams] Oh my God, I love that! I haven’t heard that song in so long! Yes, I have thought about doing an album of remakes, but I’ve never really thought about what period or what genre. I do love the idea of doing (remakes), and I really love the idea of covering “If I Was Your Girlfriend.”
What kind of television does Janet Jackson watch?
I do watch a fair amount of TV and it all depends on what kind of mood I’m in. I love documentaries. I like things that are on the future and the galaxy. I like those modern marvel-type things, and I love history.
And you know what else I really like? Gangster stuff. Oh my God, ever since I was a kid I’ve been into gangster things. People are always surprised to hear that, but things that have to do with the Mafia, or anything drug-related. I just love that stuff — stories on mobsters or drug dealers, I find all that stuff interesting. Stories on those people’s lives always interest me.
You are getting a GLAAD Vanguard award. What does that mean to you?
Oh my God, so much to me. It really does. It never in a million years would have entered my mind that someone would say, “You know what, let’s give this award to Janet.” When they told me, I was just so surprised and felt so honored. And the gay community has just been so, so supportive.
Why do you think gay men and lesbians like you?
I think my gay and lesbians fans can actually feel the love, and see the love that I have for them. I also think they can tell that it’s actually genuine. A journalist recently asked me if there was ever a time I made conscious choice to “go after the gay community,” and it was never about that. It was just always me speaking from my heart, doing what I felt, writing about things that concerned me.
I think my gay fans picked up that vibe. I think they felt it most on the “Velvet Rope” album, but other albums too.
And you know, I got some flak for it, but standing by what I really believe in, or something I think is right, is really important to me.
Even the record label (gave me flack).With certain songs like “Free Zone” or “Tonight’s the Night,” some people wanted me to change the lyrics of “Tonight’s the Night,” and I said, “Why? Because I’m singing to another girl. Are you telling me that does not exist in this world? There’s nothing wrong with that.” So I just sort of did it anyway.
There were even some who thought I didn’t think I should have written “Together Again” and didn’t want me to do it. And I said, “Look, that just is just stupid.”