Later this month, dance/soul/pop diva Janet Jackson is scheduled to
receive this year's Commitment To Life Award, organized by the Aids
Project Los Angeles. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to
AIDS charities that promote research and awareness.
On the musical front, Jackson recently teamed with rapper Busta Rhymes
for the hit single and video "What's it Gonna Be?!" from his LP,
E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front. Jackson
also collaborated with soul/hip-hoppers Blackstreet on their hit
Janet Damita Jackson was born 33 years ago today in Gary, Ind. She is
the youngest child of Joseph and Katherine Jackson, who raised the
phenomenally successful Jackson family, including the Jackson 5 (later
the Jacksons) and superstar Michael Jackson.
Jackson was a tomboy and wanted to be a jockey, but her father encouraged
her to perform with her brothers. She agreed and eventually co-starred
with her family on a 1976 TV variety show. The program led to her
roles in the sitcoms "Good Times" and "Diff'rent Strokes."
She soon signed with A&M Records and, with the help of her father,
issued a 1982 eponymous debut that yielded the R&B hit "Young Love." She
acted in the TV series "Fame" and issued 1984's Dream Street,
which spawned the R&B hit "Don't Stand Another Chance."
Jackson's career was ignited by the producing team of Jimmy Jam and
Terry Lewis, the ex-Time members who toughened her music on the 1986
breakthrough, Control. The LP topped the pop and R&B album charts
and produced six hits, including "What Have You Done for Me Lately,"
"Nasty" and the #1 "When I Think of You."
These smash singles were buttressed by elaborate videos that featured
Jackson's hot dance moves and future pop star Paula Abdul's
In 1987, Jackson changed her management and decided to address social
issues on her next LP, Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989). It generated
more hit singles than its predecessor, including the #1 "Miss You Much,"
"Escapade," "Black Cat" and "Love Will Never Do."
After her first major tour in 1990, Jackson switched to Virgin Records
for a much-publicized, lucrative contract. In 1993, Jackson made her
feature film debut, opposite Tupac Shakur, in John Singleton's "Poetic
Also that year, janet hit #1 on the pop and R&B charts, thanks to
chart-toppers "That's the Way Love Goes" and "Again." On the LP's videos
and tour, Jackson appeared in body-conscious costumes that accentuated
the sexually provocative nature of the music.
In 1997 came the sample-heavy The Velvet Rope, distinguished by
spoken-word interludes. The single "Got 'Til it's Gone"
(RealAudio excerpt) sampled singer/songwriter legend Joni Mitchell's
1970 hit "Big Yellow Taxi" and featured a rap by A Tribe Called Quest's
The title cut included pieces of "The Exorcist" theme, "Tubular Bells."
The LP also included a cover of the Rod Stewart hit "Tonight's the Night"
and hit #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Other birthdays: Billy Cobham, 55; Robert Fripp, 53; Barbara Lee
(Chiffons), 52; Jonathan Richman, 48; and Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17), 41.