In 1997, pop star Janet Jackson released an album that became a self defining project. The Velvet Rope was written and produced by the triple threat team of Janet, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. To say that this album helped Janet find and accept who she was is true, but she also helped her fans as well. This album took on topics dealing with overcoming not being able to fit in and accepting that everyone is different in one way or another. The need to feel as if you are human and belonged in the world.
The Velvet Rope took many on a ride through self acceptance. With this album, Janet dyed her hair red and showed her tattoos and piercings. This was noting that she was more comfortable in her body and felt the need to inspire others to feel the same. Another area that Janet covered was how personal this album was. This album seemed to allow her to use her artistry as a way to help her find solace in what she went through over the years. It helped show her that holding everything in will only hinder your ability to inspire others. This is something that Janet says is the reason she got into music.
When you listen to The Velvet Rope, you find that it may seem dark and gloomy, a song entitled “You”, took Janet time to record because it was hard for her to express her feelings. This song is about her, she explained to John Norris that as she thinks about it, she should have named it Me. The album also has a song of being fed up with what people say and promise. ‘What About’ entails the emotional and physical abuse aspect in a relationship. A person is at the point where they can take all that they can take and finds strength in finally accepting their self worth. Finding love in the wrong places and in the wrong things can lead to destruction of oneself.
Janet also shows us the lighter side of loving someone who is gone away and wanting to be where they are. ‘Together Again’ reassures us that our loved ones are in no more pain and are smiling down on us. At one point, Janet was losing so many friends, she decided to pay tribute to them. Also in 2009, ‘Together Again’ became an even more personal reflection of loss for her, when she lost her brother Michael Jackson. This song is a song of pure strength for those who are lost and those of us who are still here.
Fans all around the world rank The Velvet Rope as “The Album That Saved My Life”. People credit the album for helping them with self image, depression and finding greater worth within themselves. To me Velvet Rope helped me realize that it was okay to be a loner. It is okay to be different from everyone else. This album has helped me live, love and learn. To understand who I am, I have to let go of who I am not. I have to find my happiness.
Like Janet, I write to inspire. I write to empower. Also, when I write, although it may be on a celebrity, (The Celebrity Spotlight) I have gone through the same issues or have seen it play out first hand. This is why I honor Janet and her legacy. It seems as if she has the answer to everything I go through. I have moved past MY VELVET ROPE.