Recently anointed “Icon” Janet Jackson has yet to be tabbed a VH1 Diva, but
she will honor one next month at a star-studded tribute.
On Tuesday, Jackson was named a special guest and Mary J. Blige and Jill
Scott were announced as the first performers for “VH1 Divas Live: The One and
Only Aretha Franklin – A Benefit Concert for VH1 Save the Music Foundation,”
which airs live on April 10.
Additional special guests and performers who will take the stage at New York
City’s Radio City Music Hall for the fourth annual “VH1 Divas” concert will
be announced as they are confirmed.
While Jackson and the Grammy-nominated newcomer Scott are new to the event,
Blige appeared at “VH1 Divas Live ’99” with performers Whitney Houston, Cher,
Tina Turner and Brandy, and special guests Elton John, LeAnn Rimes, Faith
Hill and Chaka Khan.
“VH1 Divas” – one of the highest rated shows on VH1 – began in 1998 with a
“VH1 Divas Live” concert with Franklin, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Gloria
Estefan and Shania Twain at New York’s Beacon Theatre.
The show morphed into a tribute special with last year’s “VH1 Divas
2000: A Tribute to Diana Ross,” with a lineup including Ross, Carey,
Hill, Destiny’s Child and Donna Summer.
VH1 followed up 2000’s “Divas” with “Men Strike Back,” a male version of the
show with Sting, Backstreet Boys, Tom Jones, D’Angelo, Enrique Iglesias and
Sisqó, a format that will not be returning this year.
The “Divas” specials raise funds for the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, a
nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music programs in public schools. More than $10 million worth of musical instruments
has been donated to 530 public schools in 40 cities since VH1 Save the Music
was created in 1997.
Jackson was honored this week by MTV in a new tribute show called “MTVIcon.”
The singer and actress has released several multiplatinum albums, including
Control and Rhythm Nation.
Hip-hop queen Blige is a 1996 Grammy winner and chart-topping
performer, while Scott’s Who Is Jill Scott? Words & Sounds Vol. 1
earned her three Grammy nominations this year.