I missed half of the video, but that didn’t matter. When those stylish, glistening black folks with funky hair twisted, swayed, and jived across the screen in the clip for “Got Til Itʼs Gone” during Planet Groove, I knew I couldn’t miss this. I jumped up from VIDEOS VHS tape. I recorded over Mariah Carey’s “Honey” with nary a second thought. This was a big deal. The year was 1997. I was buying whatever Janet Jackson was selling.
The Velvet Rope was new. Not just a new album, but also a new Janet. It was the latest milestone in a life marked by sensible evolution—rather than orchestrated culture-vulturing and reinvention. Aided by shoulder pads and sudden independence, she emancipated herself with Control. She flexed her youthful optimism and militaristic dance floor activism with Rhythm Nation. She enchanted us with her blossoming sensuality and surging free-spirited confidence on janet.