Janet Damita Jo Jackson (born May 16, 1966) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer. A prominent figure in popular culture, she is known for sonically innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, and elaborate stage shows.
The youngest child of the Jackson family, she began her career with the variety television series The Jacksons in 1976 and went on to appear in other television shows throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, including Good Times and Fame. After signing a recording contract with A&M Records in 1982, she became a pop icon following the release of her third and fourth studio albums Control (1986) and Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989). Her collaborations with record producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis incorporated elements of rhythm and blues, funk, disco, rap and industrial beats, which led to crossover success in popular music.
In 1991 Jackson signed the first of two record-breaking multimillion-dollar contracts with Virgin Records, establishing her as one of the highest-paid artists in the industry. Her fifth album Janet (1993) saw her develop a public image as a sex symbol as she began to explore sexuality in her music. That same year, she appeared in her first starring film role in Poetic Justice; she has since continued to act in feature films. Jackson then released her sixth studio album The Velvet Rope (1997), which is distinguished for its innovative production and dark lyrical content. By the end of the 1990s, she was named by Billboard magazine as the second most successful recording artist of the decade after Mariah Carey. Her seventh album All for You (2001) coincided with a celebration of her impact on the recording industry as the inaugural MTV Icon. After parting ways with Virgin Records, she released her tenth album Discipline (2008), her first and only album with Island Records. In 2015, she partnered with BMG Rights Management to launch her own record label, Rhythm Nation, and released her eleventh album Unbreakable the same year.
Having sold over 180 million records, Jackson is one of the world’s best-selling music artists of all time. She has amassed an extensive catalog, with singles such as “Nasty”, “Rhythm Nation”, “That’s the Way Love Goes”, “Together Again” and “All for You”; she holds the record for the most consecutive top-ten entries on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart by a female artist with 18. In 2008, Billboard placed her number seven on its list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists, and in 2010 ranked her fifth among the “Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years”. In December 2016, the magazine named her the second most successful dance club artist of all-time after Madonna. She has been cited as an inspiration among numerous performers. Jackson was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019.