Returning from a three-year hiatus, the Essence Festival, otherwise known as the largest cultural event for black women, returns to New Orleans with an exciting lineup of performers. Among them, Janet Jackson will appear on July 2 as a headliner. The pop icon shared her excitement in an Instagram video, showing her and her dance troupe in action during a rehearsal. In the post, the “Rhythm Nation” singer is seen stretching his legs with a heel stretch while his backup dancers practiced a few steps to his left. “Trying to stretch properly before this rehearsal,” he captioned the post.
Jackson was scheduled for the 2020 Essence Fest, which was canceled, so this year’s performance is highly anticipated. Her colorful career has won her five Grammy Awards, sold 160 million albums worldwide, the No. 10 single and a lasting place in our collective memory. He has inspired not only music like “Rhythm Nation,” “That’s the Way Love Goes” and “All for You”, but also his trendsetting style (which has driven stars like Kim Kardashian to spruce up his archival look, iconic.) If “decoration” as well as his unwavering commitment to activism. The music industry would not be the same without Jackson’s contribution.
For all the border-pushing looks he has served in the 80s, 90s, 2000s and the present, confidence is not always easy for him. As she has revealed in her recent documentary, her body image problems have been exacerbated by her siblings. “I mean, some of you are saying you’re too heavy,” he said. “Even if it was out of love, it affects you.” He told Allier in an interview that although it was difficult at times, he finally began to develop body positivity over time.
The rich catalog of Jackson’s performances tells the story of a woman who is becoming more and more confident with each passing year. Her style in the 90s was defined by Y2K and military-inspired sensibilities, seen in ab-bearing crop tops, necklines, sharp suits and baggy jeans. And he remains a style museum today. In honor of his return to the Essence Festival, let’s review some of his best performances.