After many years of being in the spotlight for her music career, Janet Jackson is putting her first passion and first love back in the forefront -- acting. BlackVoices spoke exclusively with Jackson, who discussed working with Tyler Perry again and her passion to do more films.
Having worked with Tyler on two previous films, what was it like when he offered you this part?
Janet Jackson: I was actually honored when he offered it to me because it's such an important piece, with it being such a major hit on Broadway and just an all-black female cast. And to be able to be a part of that and see that story come to the screen. It's this legendary thing and to be able to be a part of Ntozake's work, as well. I was truly honored. I really was.
What went into your decision to take it?
I wasn't familiar with the play. I didn't see it. I was young. I was 10 or 11 years old. But I knew of it. I didn't know what it was about, though. There were a few things that went into my decision. One was working with Tyler again, which I enjoyed a great deal, and the other was this character. Taking on a character that was completely different from anything else I had ever done. [Tyler] told me about her, and he said, "This is what I'd like for you to do if you're down for it. She's a bitch. She's not nice at all. And she's this and she's that." I hadn't read anything. I said, "So you really think I can do this? I can pull this off?" I said. He said, "Yes, I wouldn't be asking if I didn't think you could handle this." So I was up for the challenge. That excited me. And when I read it, it really excited me to know it was a lot stronger than what he had expressed to me. I was really excited to be a part of this and to help create the character.
In portraying Jo is there anything in her background that you can relate to?
Well, there's a lot. I mean her issues with marriage and relationships. Granted, I've never had an issue that she did, but the issue with her husband and then love and suppressing a great deal of that by being a workaholic and that being her baby. And not really wanting to deal with it, but it's still there in the back of her head. Unfortunately, she has no choice but to address it. It comes to a head. I mean that used to be me, for sure.
→ For more on why Janet's decided to further her foray in the thespian world check BlackVoices.