Because of Love

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

Janet Jackson as a child

There are those artists whose adoring legions of fans really resemble nothing more than fairweather people looking for the undefinable “it” or “next.” So many artists gain a sort of status with their fans, and those fans go to the ends of the Earth for them … until they find the next idol and renege their idolatry. Too many artists these days build their foundations on one song, and throw 11 more songs on that single, and call it an album.

On Saturday night, Janet Jackson proved she wasn’t one of them.

Yes, we know she’s the 9th most successful rock and roll act in history, and second most successful female pop act in history as well. We know about the multiple awards, records, tragedies and mishaps, and, for that matter, my reverence for my first fake-girlfriend.

We also know that stardom often comes at a heavy price, and when any mishap is usually magnified times ten when in the scrutiny of the public eye, and further magnified by your own status. Thus, when she does fall (and in some cases, fall hard), it becomes symbolic of her whole music career.

Yet, during the concert, she came to the front portion of her stage, an elaborate wonder of modern staging. In her crazy mohawk and dripping sweat from head to toe, she stood there while people screamed for her. She tried to talk, but we interrupted her with a resounding call to her name.

Janet. Janet. Janet. Janet.

We awoke the little girl from Gary, who still carries that part of her somewhere under the vixen / superstar. She stood there, teary-eyed and humbled by it all. It’s the essence of why Madison Square Garden was filled to the brim for a woman whose had a hard time selling gold in her latest release.

For one night, she was reminded of the fans who still pledge allegiance to her and her legacy, the moments she’s sung to, and the love and care she put into some of our favorite songs.

Janet. Janet. Janet.

Very few artists actually give something to their fans that kicks them from crushes to evangelists, or even to love. Fans are fickle, and non-committal, and that’s also part of the system. It takes something about that person to make them true devotees, where even the rafters shook with her name. She stood there, knowing she’s equal parts human and divine for her fans.

No matter what happens to Janet, it’s because of love she knows we’re there.

jose, who, along with his girlfriend, was only a few seats away from that very moment …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 3

  1. The Jaded NYer

    Beautiful. Janet is THAT artist whose CD I will always look forward to; long after Madonna got played out and her own brother fell off (which, in my opinion was during the “Bad” period) Janet has stood the test of time.

    And b*tch can dance, okay? When I go to the gym, it’s her “tour” body that I envision for my end result, her (choreographers’) moves I try to emulate, and her her music playing through my earphones.

    Janet is The Dopeness!

    The Jaded NYers last blog post..Back To Business As Usual

  2. mzvirgo

    I will admit, her abs are to DIE for!! I’m glad that you wrote a positive review about your concert experience , when everyone else seems to think that she has fallen off or when everyone else thinks that she should retire. I hope that she continues to perform and entertain us.

    mzvirgos last blog post..Leave the knife alone and go vote!

  3. BlackWomenBlowTheTrumpet

    Hey there!

    Janet is 41 and she’s just a lovely human being…I have loved Janet since she was “Penny” on that show “Good Times”.

    Thanks for sharing this moment with all of us!!


    (Oh…now see….the ones who aren’t true Janet fans even didn’t know that is the name that Michael has called her since she was a toddler!)



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