On Wednesday, MTV announced that Janet Jackson will receive the Global Icon Award at the upcoming Europe Music Awards, airing live from Bilbao, Spain, on Nov. 4.
“Janet is without question one of the world’s biggest stars. Her incredible artistry has opened doors for countless others while leaving an indelible impact on pop culture — well over three decades and counting,” Viacom’s global head of music and talent, Bruce Gillmer, said in the release. Jackson will perform a medley of her greatest hits, including her new single, “Made For Now,” a collaboration with Daddy Yankee.
If this all seems familiar, it’s because Jackson was recently given a nearly identical prize. In May, Jackson became the first black woman to receive the Icon Award from the Billboard Music Awards. She also performed a medley, with “Nasty,” “If” and “Throb,” and presenter Bruno Mars ticked off her long list of accomplishments: the first woman in history to have five consecutive No. 1 albums, the biggest-selling debut tour in history, and many more.
As the audience chanted her name, she delivered a powerful speech: “It’s a moment when at long last women have made it clear that we will no longer be controlled, manipulated or abused,” she said. “I stand with those women and with those men equally outraged by discrimination who support us in heart and mind.”
Jackson was also named as a nominee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; this year’s inductees will be announced in December. This would be the ultimate prize, as her fans have been lobbying for her place in the Hall of Fame for years.
It’s telling — if not a satisfying coincidence — that Jackson is being honored the same year that Justin Timberlake returned to the Super Bowl stage, 14 years after the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” that torpedoed Jackson’s career. (MTV, of course, produced the halftime show that year.) Timberlake remained unscathed while Jackson found herself shunned by the entertainment industry.
During the Super Bowl in February, #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay was trending on Twitter. At the beginning of the halftime show, Timberlake sang “Rock Your Body” and stopped as he was about to get to the lyric, “Bet I’ll have you naked by the end of this song,” which was what he was singing when he ripped off Jackson’s top. This time, he yelled “Hold up, stop!” and moved on to the next hit. That sly reference probably wasn’t a great idea, as even Timberlake admitted that Jackson was unfairly blamed. Many on social media were not amused.
This is also the third time that Jackson has been shortlisted for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On Super Bowl Sunday, Questlove jumped on the #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay hashtag to make a plea for the pop star’s inclusion.
“As a voting member of the @RockHall its criminal that @JanetJackson has NOT been inducted yet,” he wrote on Instagram, noting her game-changing, five-times-platinum album “Control” in 1996. “Not to take away from her peers in the RRHOF that made marks in the ’80s. But half of them can NOT claim they changed music.”
Although her fans would argue it’s much-delayed, 2018 may be the year of Jackson’s official redemption.