Spurred on by new criticism of how Janet Jackson, 54, has been treated, fans are taking control of the narrative. Last week, on the 35th birthday of Jackson’s “Control” album, it found itself somewhere it had been decades before: the top of the music charts.
“Control” was released in 1986, but, last week, it flew to no. 1 on the Apple Top 40 US Pop Album Chart and has remained in the top 10, thanks to supporters who are angered over how Jackson has historically been treated by the music industry, and, more specifically, by Justin Timberlake, 40.
The criticism has been sparked by the recently-released Hulu and FX documentary “Framing Britney Spears,” which was produced by the New York Times. The film looks at the intense misogyny female pop stars experienced in the 1990s and early aughts. That examination has led to renewed scrutiny over the aftermath of the “wardrobe malfunction” at the 2004 Super Bowl, when Jackson’s breast was exposed by Timberlake during a performance. The event negatively impacted Jackson’s career, while Timberlake was unaffected.
Jackson has not responded to recent discussions directly, but took to Twitter Saturday to thank her fans for their support of her music.
“You’re so special to me,” Jackson said. “And I want to thank all of you for making ‘Control’ number one, once again, after 35 years.”
Jackson's 1986 album includes hits such as, “What Have You Done for Me Lately,” “Nasty,” and “When I Think of You,” a single that reached number one on the Hot 100 — the first single of Jackson’s to top the chart. The album itself remained on the Billboard Hot 200 chart for more than two years.
“I never, never in a million years would I ever think this would happen,” Jackson said of the album’s recent success. “I really appreciate you and I love you so, so much."
In a message on Instagram Friday, Timberlake apologized to both Jackson and Spears, 39, saying he was “deeply sorry” for benefiting “from a system that condones misogyny and racism." He went on to say, “I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed.”
Criticism of the events at the 2004 Super Bowl, its aftermath and how it harmed Jackson has been building in recent years. In 2018, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry took to Twitter to encourage people to rebrand the day of the Super Bowl as Janet Jackson Appreciation Day. It has been celebrated ever since.
Fans use Janet Jackson Appreciation Day to call out her decades of work, their favorite songs and music videos, and the times she was especially iconic.