When it comes to the things that make an icon, Janet Jackson seems to tick every box. Janet is a genre-spanning triple-threat whose decades-long career arc is full of some of the greatest pop music and spectacle of all time, placing her in close contention for the crown of Queen of Pop. Her videos set new standards with their choreography and blend of urban, industrial and pop music. Lyrically, she’s explored feminism, personal empowerment, politics, depression, AIDS and same-sex relationships.
For the millions of fans she’s amassed, she’s had a particularly strong connection to the LGBT community. GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano described her relevance when she was honored with the Vanguard Award at the 2008 Annual GLAAD Media Awards:
We are delighted to honor Janet Jackson at the 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles as such a visible, welcoming and inclusive ally of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Ms. Jackson has a tremendous following inside the LGBT community and out, and having her stand with us against the defamation that LGBT people still face in our country is extremely significant.
She recorded a PSA for Logo and GLSEN following the murder of fifteen-year-old Lawrence King saying “None of us are safe, until all of us are safe.” She also created a video for the It Gets Better Project, explaining her involvement to Larry King on CNN, “(I was) one of those kids... holding everything inside... internalizing everything. And that really can affect you, and feeling helpless and hopeless, and finding that person that you can trust, that adult, like I did later on in life, that I felt comfortable and safe to tell my issues, my worries, my pains, my aches to. This is what the Trevor Project is really all about.” In 2012, she announced she was producing a documentary, “Truth,” focused on the lives of transgender people throughout the world.