Janet Has Damita Jo, Madonna Has Esther — Now, Mariah Has ‘Mimi’

New album, due in March, will be called The Emancipation of Mimi.

Janet Jackson has Damita Jo, Madonna has Esther, and now, apparently, Mariah has Mimi.

Mariah Carey’s private nickname is featured in the title of her forthcoming album, The Emancipation of Mimi, according to a letter she posted on her Web site Thursday (November 18). Carey noted that she was explaining the title a bit prematurely — the album isn’t due until March 22 — because “my album title has leaked out [to the press] way before I intended.”

The title, she wrote, is “very different for me.” Indeed, her past albums have usually referred to her favorite things of the girlie variety (Charmbracelet, Rainbow, Butterfly and, er, Glitter). Anticipating that the new title might cause some confusion, Carey explained that Mimi is a “very personal nickname” only used by those closest to her, and is “just one of those little things that I’ve kept for myself in an attempt to have some delineation between a public persona and a private life.” By using her private nickname this way, she said, she’s “letting my guard down and inviting my fans to be that much closer to me.”

As for the “emancipation” aspect, it refers to her feeling that she no longer has to live up to other people’s expectations, an attitude that is also reportedly reflected in the album’s music (see “With Help From Kanye, R. Kelly, Snoop, Mariah Readies New LP” ).

“For the first time in my life, I feel free and unashamed to be who I really am,” she wrote. “I am celebrating that I’ve grown into a person and artist who no longer feels imprisoned by my insecurities … I can now honestly say, ‘This is me, the real me, take it or leave it.’ ”

The album’s first single, “Say Something” (featuring Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams), was originally supposed to go to radio by the end of November, but has since been pushed back to January and will be accompanied by a video, according to Carey’s label rep.