Janet Jackson’s Historic Outside Lands Performance Emphasized Social Justice Fact: Janet Jackson Was The First Woman of Color To Headline Outside Lands
SAN FRANCISCO, CA-
“… Janet Jackson. Ms. Jackson if ya nasty.
Janet Jackson’s music had a formative impact on my life. Her album Rhythm Nation 1814 literally changed the way I perceived music. I was only 12 when the album first came out, but I vividly remember watching her Rhythm Nation 1814 short film on MTV and being blown away by its black and white aesthetic and the serious social issues it addressed (substance abuse). After listening to the single “Rhythm Nation”, I realized that music was more than just notes on a page. It was a tool that anyone could used to express an opinion an instill action to do some good in the world. It was inspiring. Opening her set with “The Knowledge”, her Outside Lands performance started with strong social and political messaging illuminated in bold fonts on the LED screens that flanked the stage. It was social consciousness at it’s best and and got me feeling those inspired feels again.
During her recent tour, Janet Jackson had been performing sets in the two hour range. While her Outside Lands was trimmed down by 30 minutes, it was still jam packed with all of her well-known hits, even if only snippets of certain songs were performed in a medley.
For anybody who doubted whether Ms. Jackson still had “it”, all the doubters hesitations could be put to rest. She absolutely slayed. Matching step for step with her limber dancers, Janet proved to be as much of a force of nature that on stage now as she had been back in the day.
Some of her loudest cheers came when she left the main stage to venture into the audience to performance a handful of ballads. Straddle atop a backwards chair, her fans longingly outstretched their arms with the hopes that perhaps she’d reach back out to the as well.
She concluded her performance the way she started, returning back to the social and political themes. In a time when there is so much discord in the world, seeing a black woman (the first woman of color to headliner Outside Lands) lead the massive crowd to sing and dance to songs like “Rhythm Nation” and “State of the World”, man that was memorable, and, in my humble opinion, the perfect way to end the weekend’s festivities…”