Janet Jackson Gives "Discipline"
This week, Janet Jackson’s tenth studio album, Discipline, will debut at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart. This is the pop icon’s first number one album since 2001’s "All For You". Packed with soon-to-be club anthems like "Rollercoaster" "Rock With U" and the first single "Feedback", Miss Jackson is definitely still the diva we all know and love.
Through all of Janet’s success, she has never forgotten her feverishly dedicated gay fan base. In a one-on-one, Miss Janet talks to The Edge about the new album, sexuality, HIV/AIDS and other juicy tidbits.
EDGE: What can old school and new school Janet fans expect from the new album "Discipline"?
Janet: It’s classic me with more of a modern twist to it. It hasn’t changed that much from what it is that I do at all except for the catch to it. You have the dance songs, you have the mid-tempo and you have the slow ballads. Then, you have the baby making songs, so it’s still classic me but with a modern twist.
EDGE: At this point in your career are record sales still important to you?
Janet: Yeah, they are, that’s not why I do it -- I do it because I love music and I want to give something to people and something for them to enjoy. The record sales really do show how they truly are enjoying what is that you’re doing, in my eyes. So when you do see big sales that means a lot of people are really enjoying this body of work that you’ve created. They really like what you’ve worked so hard over, slaved over to feel good about within yourself and wanting to share that with everyone else.
EDGE: Do you think you would ever venture into a bit more of the political music of the "Rhythm Nation" days?
Janet: I can’t say that I won’t for sure. It’s something that I have to feel, I just don’t feel that right now in my heart to do. There may be a time that I do, when I definitely feel that strongly about it then I will for sure.
EDGE: Gay people and are often judged for their sexuality and so are you. What’s your reaction to people who say a woman over 40 shouldn’t be this sexual and provocative?
Janet: That’s stupid. Is that where it’s supposed to cut off at? That’s what God wants? If you still feel it within you, why not? That’s just ignorant to me.
EDGE: You were one of the few artists who talked about HIV/AIDS before it was popular. What do you think about the way HIV/AIDS has devastated the black community?
Janet: It’s very frightening and it seems like the "kids" are not taking it quite as seriously as they should be. Hopefully, they’ll start listening to the messages, whether it’s on BET, talking about wrapping it up, and other things. Hopefully, they’ll understand the severity of it. It’s really sad how things are going. A friend in New York, we talked about it, he said all of his friends have passed away and he’s only got like a handful of friends that are still around from the Studio 54 days. I was looking at a piece of Lola Falana footage from one of her shows and couple of the dancers in it I knew -- and they’re gone. The other guys I didn’t know and I thought, "Are they all gone? Are some of them still around?" It’s just really sad how it has wiped out so many people. I really do wish people would take it a lot more seriously than what they do. I think it’s great that they’ve got drugs that are really helping the disease a great deal.
EDGE: A couple years ago you attended the Latex Ball in New York City. What was your reaction to seeing a ball for the first time?
Janet: I loved it! I only saw "Paris Is Burning" and I’ve watched that -- I don’t know how many times. So to see these different houses, the House of Lebija and all these different houses... I loved it, seeing the kids just live and have a great time. How they danced and had so much life, love, energy and excitement. It was a lot of fun; I definitely want to go again.
EDGE: Do you think someone could be openly gay in R&B and be successful?
Janet: Yes, I do, I think it’s a matter of someone really having the guts to do it. I think there’s that fear. If it does exist, if there is someone out there, and I’m sure there is, to really come out. I think they could. I’m not saying it won’t be difficult in the beginning, but I think they could. Someone’s got to break the ice; someone’s got to break that mold. Someone’s got to open that door for those to come and it’s going to happen.
EDGE: What are your thoughts on outing closeted celebrities?
Janet: I don’t think that’s right. I think it would be best for that person to come forth with it on their own. You know, everyone has their own time, at least to me. However they want to do it, however they feel to go about it, not knowing what’s really going on in their life, how difficult it may be for them. You have to do things at your own pace and I think that’s something that should be left to them. It’s their life.
EDGE: Any final shout outs to your gay fans?
Janet: I feel they already know this, but you can’t say it enough...it’s just that I love them. I really do love them and thank you for being so supportive.
Click here to purchase "Discipline".