When I awoke on September 1, best known as the morning after the launch of Janet Jackson’s Unbreakable world tour, I immediately checked social media for footage of the Vancouver.
I wanted to know whether Janet would play it safe with her dancing, as she has in recent years. As in, some moves here and there (obviously), but a lot of speed walking in between—like your mom on the treadmill. The iconic dancer has always managed to put on a good show, but longtime fans noticed during the last tour (or as I did at the 2010 Essence Festival) that she wasn’t doing as much of the original choreography as she used to. The fear of a knee injury will do that to you. Ask Britney Spears.
However, Janet danced as hard as she did in her prime. If you lived in my building, you would have heard me shout “Do that s–t!” several times around 6:30 a.m. Many of my fellow Janet fanatics were just as excited, though some were distracted by her attire.
Indeed, reviewing the first tour stop for the New York Times, Jon Pareles used phrases like “a newly demure Janet Jackson” while noting that she was “dressed in white and covered.” Then came the other observation that’s since been shared by many others: “And she avoided one big subset of her songwriting: her salacious, sometimes kinky whispers.”
It has since sparked speculation as to why that is. Is it her husband? Has she changed her religions? Does she just not want to become a victim of ageism and be mocked like Madonna?
If you find yourself asking any of these questions, do yourself a favor: let it go.
Read the rest at VH1.