Janet Jackson Opens Up About Father’s Death At Essence Fest

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It’s been quite the trying month for Janet Jackson and the rest of her famous family. The Jacksons recently lost the patriarch of their family, Joe Jackson, who passed away on June 27. Despite the recent loss, Janet showed her strength by performing at the 2018 Essence Festival in New Orleans on Sunday (July 7). During her headlining set, the icon gave an emotional tribute to her father.

While the singer has been relatively quiet since her father’s passing (she only posted a vintage photo of her and Joe on Instagram), the singer admitted that his death has weighed on her heavily. “To be quite honest it was really hard for me. It’s always difficult when you lose a loved one,” she said tearfully. “I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to move forward if I should cancel this festival or the entire tour.”

She revealed that a conversation with one of her brothers ultimately inspired her to continue her tour schedule. “I talked to my brother and we started to speak about my father’s strength. He was very strong. Without his drive, his strength, we wouldn’t have this success,” she explained. “We’re a black family that came from Gary, Indiana, and we broke all kinds of records all over the globe. That’s [the] truth.”

She added: “My father was a great man. My brother asked me, ‘If he was here listening to this conversation, what do you think he would say to you?’ And I think my father would have said, ‘Janet, please. Finish what you’ve started. And I will be there with you every step of the way in your heart.’ So here I am.”

After the crowd applauded her, Janet pointed to the sky and said, “I love you so much. This one’s for you.” She then launched into a performance of her 1997 single, “Together Again.” “My father would want to celebrate his life. That’s what I’m going to do right now with all of you,” she added, while a montage of photos of Janet and Joe appeared on the big screen.

As previously reported, Joe Jackson died in a Las Vegas hospice on June 27, after succumbing to pancreatic cancer. He was 89 years old at the time. Joe is survived by his wife, 11 children, and grandchildren.

See Janet’s heartfelt tribute in the video above.

READ MORE: Janet Jackson Proves Why She’s An Icon At The 2018 Billboard Music Awards