Janet Jackson took a break from her headlining set at the 2018 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans on Sunday, July 8, to speak about the recent death of her father, Joe Jackson.
“To be quite honest, it was really hard for me,” the five-time Grammy winner, 52, said on stage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. “You know, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to move forward, if I should cancel this festival or cancel the entire tour.”
Janet became emotional as she told the audience that she turned to one of her famous brothers for advice. “We started to speak about my father’s strength. He was very strong,” she explained. “Without his drive, his strength, we wouldn’t have the success. We’re a black family that came from Gary, Indiana, and we broke all kinds of records around the globe. That’s truth.”
She continued, “My father was a great man. My brother, he asked me, he said, ‘If he were here right now listening to this conversation, what do you think he would say to you?’ And I think my father would have said, ‘Janet, please finish what you started, and I will be there with you every step of the way in your heart.’ So here I am.”
Janet’s siblings include Jackie Jackson, Tito Jackson, Jermaine Jackson, La Toya Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Randy Jackson and the late Michael Jackson.
The pop superstar then sang her 1997 single “Together Again” in honor of her dad. The emotional tribute came toward the end of her career-spanning 28-song set, which also included hits such as “Nasty,” “Rhythm Nation,” “All for You” and “Scream.”
Joe died at the age of 89 on June 27 after a battle with cancer. Janet attended his funeral service at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California, on July 2 with her 18-month-old son, Eissa, whom she shares with estranged husband Wissam Al Mana. Her brother Michael is buried at the same cemetery.
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