2 nov 2021

After Britney Spears, will Janet Jackson finally be rehabilitated by the magic of television?

She sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, released one album after another, released insane music videos and toured spectacularly, and then one day, nothing… Pop icon Janet Jackson and her rollercoaster career will be dissected in two documentaries airing this month and early next year. Time to do justice to one of the biggest music stars of the 90s?

In the space of two documentaries, one produced by the New York Times and released last year, and the other released on Netflix this year, the existence Britney Spears was seen in a whole new light. Will the same fate befall the life and troubled career of Janet Jackson ? One of the biggest pop stars of the 90s, now 55, will soon find herself at the heart of two documentaries. The first, Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson, will air on FX and Hulu on November 19. Edited by The New York Times, the film will focus on “Nipplegate”, the artist’s “wardrobe malfunction” at the 2004 Super Bowl. Caused by a sudden gesture from Justin Timberlake, the accident exposed the singer’s breasts to the whole world during the half-time show. A series of public and media comments slut-shaming the star will lead to his gradual disappearance from screens and stages.


Following this film, which includes interviews with people involved in broadcasting the Super Bowl show , including MTV executives, another documentary simply entitled Janet will be released in 2022. In two parts and spanning four hours, this production, which took five years to complete, looks back at the highs and lows of the singer’s career, with a wealth of never-before-seen archive footage and interviews. His biggest hits and hits but also his breast unveiled as well as his personal life, from his childhood marked by authoritarian parents (including a father in constant control of his daughters and sons whom he raised to be stars) to the death of his brother, Michael Jackson. In his book True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself published in 2011, Janet Jackson had already recounted some of the complicated moments that occurred in her younger years. For his role in the American sitcom Good Times (1977-1979), she was asked to lose weight as a child, and to hide her growing breasts.


A first teaser of the film unveiled on YouTube on September 6 hints at an exciting program. Interviews with the singer’s colleagues, Missy Elliott, Mariah Carey or Paula Abdul, rare videos of Janet Jackson as a little girl or backstage at a show as well as an interview with the star herself. In a moving sequence, the nineties icon confides: “This is my story, told by myself. Not through someone else’s eyes. It’s the truth. Take it or leave it. Love it or hate it. This is me.“To find out more about the real Janet Jackson, we’ll have to wait until the documentary airs in the U.S. simultaneously on Lifetime and A&E in early 2022. Also in 2022, the star is set to return with Black Diamond, a brand new album that will be his first since 2015 and will no doubt sound like revenge.


Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson (2021) by Jodi Gomes, available November 19. Janet by Ben Hirsch, scheduled for 2022.