For this week on Fashion.Style.Beauty, I wanted to pay homage to style icons that had a direct impact on me as a woman of color. Today’s icon is pop star/actress Janet Jackson.
I was familiar with Janet Jackson as a little girl from the Jackson Five variety specials on television but lightening struck for me with her first solo album, Control; it was all about Janet after that. My nickname in high school was “Baby J.” I knew word to every song, every dance move to every video and I had to have every item of clothing she wore. I even wore my locker key on a singular hoop earring.
Janet is a style chameleon that borrows from her influences depending on her mood. Military from her brother Michael, a white tank top and ripped jeans from the supermodels of the late ’80s, zoot suits from classic films: Janet made it okay to change your entire look just because you changed your mind. Janet’s music and style was and is about respecting yourself and being in control. After all, years after she first said it you know the deal: her first name ain’t “Baby”, it’s Janet. At this point in her career she’s earned Ms. Jackson, doesn’t matter if you’re nasty or not.
Janet Jackson is one of the top selling female artists of all time, having sold over 100 million albums worldwide. She’s ranked by Billboard magazine as one of the top ten best-selling music artists in the history of contemporary music, and The Recording Industry Association of America lists her as the eleventh best-selling female artist in the United States, with 26 million certified albums.
As a fan of Janet’s style (and her signature six-pack abs she rocks while on tour), it’s hard to pick just one look to emulate but I’ll always love the classic white crop tank and ripped jeans from the “Love Will Never Do Without You” video. This BDG V-Neck Racerback Cami (2 for $24) updates the look (and covers your stomach) and gives you the look with of-the-moment Rich and Skinny Vintage Love Boyfriend Jeans ($196). Now all you need is Djimon Housou and Antonio Sabato, Jr to stop by.
Janet, thank you for showing all of us that there’s no need to remain in anyone’s shadow and that our style is truly our decision. Fashion, style and beauty could never do without you.
In honor of Janet being chosen as today’s style icon, please do enjoy my favorite video of hers, “If.”