Janet Jackson is one of the few entertainers who truly owns up to her icon billing. So, when it was announced that she had a docuseries on the way last spring, we couldn’t wait. And boy was the wait worth it! Janet’s Lifetime and A&E two-night special Janet Jackson. is pure truth—there is no cap in it whatsoever. Miss Jackson goes in on everything, from her rumored secret child to her relationship dramas to the pitfalls of being a superstar—and more. She does not hold back. Below, EBONY shares the major takeaways that we gleaned from her personal tell-all:
She Breaks Her Silence on Her Rumored Secret Baby
For decades, Janet Jackson hasn’t responded to claims that she had a baby with her ex-husband James DeBarge and kept it secret, even from him. In Janet Jackson., she lays it all out—the rumors, who her child might be—and sets the record straight.
Loving a Drug Addict Was So Hard
After she secretly married James DeBarge, of the then-prominent yet troubled musical family DeBarge, at age 18, his drug use became a large part of her life. On camera she shares the toll it took on her personally and how it interfered with her acting career. Eventually, she got to her breaking point.
Best Believe, She Knows Where She Came From
As trailers for the docuseries have already shown, Janet returns to Gary, Indiana, the city where she and all her siblings were born. With her brother Randy by her side, she revisits their humble beginnings, sharing touching family memories and marveling how the large brood ever got by living in such a tiny house.
Her Father’s Tough Love Saved Them
Joe Jackson has been painted as an abuser who tormented his children and robbed them of their childhoods. In the docuseries, Janet and her family credit him for never abandoning his nine kids and working overtime to ensure that his sons never fell prey to gangs. As a Black father in America, he knew he had to be firm. Without him, she makes clear they would not be that have been the exceptionally talented Black family that we all came to know and love that rose to fame and riches.
White Folks Can Be Racist as F**k
Yes, Janet Jackson has brought us all together—Black, white and otherwise—to form her own Rhythm Nation, but she has rarely shared her childhood struggles. We come to learn from Miss Jackson how when the Jacksons, the top-selling American superstars, moved to their Encino, California home, a rich enclave of L.A., the white community was not very welcoming as they did not want the Black family there. She also divulges that the white kids at her school tried to see if the black on her skin would rub off and how they had a very annoying habit of trying to touch her hair.
On Being Michael Jackson’s Baby Sister
Janet Jackson gets candid about the pros and cons of being Michael Jackson’s baby sister and what it took for her to emerge from his shadow. She also speaks about their very special bond and how her brother’s Thriller success began to loosen it.
On Reclaiming Her Life and Career
We all know about Janet taking charge of her life with her breakthrough album Control, but rarely have we seen her explore that whole process. Not only does she discuss her battles with her father, but she, along with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and choreographer Paula Abdul, discuss the tireless work it took for her to actually make her independence real.
The Demise of Her Relationship With Her Ex-Husband and Collaborator René Elizondo Jr.
On camera, Janet has rarely discussed her relationship with the husband many didn’t learn she had until she divorced him. She shares her working relationship with René, even sharing behind-the-scenes scoop on the origins of the signature dance routines of the iconic Rhythm Nation tour. She, along with friends who also knew the couple, reveal intimate details about the issues of control and, yes, addiction that broke them up.
Yes, It’s True! She Is a Force
Just in case you didn’t know, Janet makes it absolutely known that she is the driver of what makes her an icon. She writes her music, decides her imagery—she controls it all. While she’s open to suggestions, she’s very firm in who she is and what she wants.
The Truth About Her Relationship With Michael
For many, one of the biggest bombshells of the Janet tell-all will be the revelation that her relationship with her iconic older brother Michael Jackson wasn’t what the public perceived it to be. She opens up about her most famous sibling in ways we’ve never seen, sharing details that will make a lot of people question what they think they know about both superstars. If that weren’t enough, she dishes on some of the huge losses she suffered for just being MJ’s little sis.
Connecting with Jermaine Dupri
Janet Jackson’s relationship with the Atlanta-based superproducer Jermaine Dupri has long been a source of curiosity for some. Here both explore their relationship—with others, who were close to them at the time, weighing in.
The Nipplegate Saga with Justin Timberlake and Super Bowl
The nipple seen around the world is still of interest nearly 20 years later. What Janet has to say or not say about the “scandal” will have people talking.
Motherhood and Life After
Being mom to son Eissa has certainly changed the superstar and she gives us a glimpse into the hows and whys.
The first segment of Janet Jackson. premieres January 28th at 8pm EST/7 CST on A&E and Lifetime, and ends January 29 at 8pm EST/7 CST.