Janet Jackson told Robin Roberts last night that her brother Michael Jackson was “in denial” about his dependence on drugs. The ABC special inevitably focussed a lot on Michael, even as it gave us a more complete picture of the 43 year-old Janet herself.
Of Michael, she said of his recent documentary, This Is It: “I definitely won’t [see it] right now or [perhaps] ever… [it's] too soon, too hard. It’s hard when I even see the posters for it.” As for his death, she brought up Michael’s physician, Dr. Conrad Murray: “He was the one who was administering [drugs to Michael]. I think he was responsible.” (To see video of the interview, go here.)
Jackson kept a fixed smile on her face throughout most of the hour and apologized at one point to Roberts, saying, “I have this thing where I tend to smile when things get uncomfortable.” If so, this hour was pretty uncomfortable for her.
Janet talked about the conflicting feelings she’s had over the years about her body, but that now she feels comfortable “with my booty,” and is writing a book that addresses some of these issues, called True You.
She described the notorious discipline her father, Joe, imposed upon his children as “old-school” bordering on “being a little abusive.” No matter who you talk to, this guy seems just plain cruel. That notion came through even when Roberts asked her why she calls her father “Joseph” and not “Dad”: “He said, ‘I’m Joe, not dad’… It is what it is… I’ve never questioned it.” She said this was true before she was four years old. As is sometimes the case with the Jackson children, one gets the feeling that they’ve tamped down a lot of emotional (and in some cases, physical) abuse.
It was Joe who steered her away from acting in TV shows such as Good Times and Diff’rent Strokes. “He said, ‘I think you could make more money singing.’” Tellingly, she now says while she hasn’t given up music — the hour showed a bit of the video for her new single, “Make Me” — she’s most interested in acting, signing on for Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too.
Janet Jackson will open this year’s American Music Awards on Sunday night.