Tonight at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Janet Jackson was — at long last — inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Janelle Monae spoke about Ms. Jackson, calling her the “Queen of Black Girl Magic.” “Our fearless leader is one of the best selling artists in history, she’s sold 180 million albums worldwide… This gifted singer-songwriter producer dancer and actress is an icon. There is only one Janet Jackson.”
“I remember the first time my mama showed me a clip of our Janet Jackson. I saw this powerful girl with an afro puff, and it was so refreshing to see someone who looked like me!”
“Even at the earliest stages of her career, you could see she was a different kind of star. When Janet broke big with ‘Control,’ it was like a big bang.” Monae said that the song was akin to a mission statement: “I am in control of my life, my voice and my art.”
She called Rhythm Nation Jackson’s manifesto. “But tonight we’re calling it a ‘wo-manifesto.'”
“Janet has her own category,” she said. “There’s pretty, there’s beautiful, there’s fine… and then there’s Janet Jackson! Her artistry could not be contained by any genre. [She was] a fully carefree black woman and pop star whose impact cannot be quantified. She has a legacy all her own.”
She also noted that Janet Jackson has been her phone screen saver for seven years. “When I was writing my Dirty Computer album, it was you to gave me the confidence to fully embrace me. History is not complete without you Janet, that’s why we bow at your alter tonight.”
After a long standing ovation, Ms. Jackson took the stage. She noted that she originally didn’t want to be a singer; she wanted to go to college to be a lawyer, but her father encouraged her to be a singer. “I saw, with the rest of the world, my family’s extraordinary influence on pop culture. I was determined to make it on my own, I wanted to stand on my own two feet… but never in a million years did I expect tonight.”
She asked her former producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis – both in sharp suits – to stand for their own moment of applause. “I salute you tonight for the body of work that we created, but also for your contribution to the world of music.”
Shockingly, she admitted that she never thought she was a good dancer, and she thanked her choreographers including Paula Abdul. She also asked Questlove to stand, as he has campaigned for her induction for the last few years.
“I also want to say a word to each and every fan. You’ve been with me every step of the way, through all my ups all my downs, I have never taken you for granted. I love you with all my heart.”
She also thanked her two-year-old son and mentioned that he sings his own melodies, which he wakes her up with every morning. Finally, she said, “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: In 2020, please induct more women!”
She didn’t perform, unfortunately, but the roar of the audience made it clear that they look forward to seeing her on stage again.
An edited version of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will air on HBO on Saturday, April 27 at 8 PM ET.”