Janet Jackson’s performance was a major draw for many of the nearly 500,000 Black women who attended the 2018 Essence Festival over the weekend. When the singer hit the stage yesterday (July 8), she paid tribute to her father, Joe Jackson, who died on June 27 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
“I didn’t know how to move forward, if I should cancel this festival or cancel the entire tour. And I talked to my brother, and we started to think about my father’s strength. He was very strong. Without his drive, his strength, we would not have the success. We’re a Black family that came from Gray, Indiana! And we broke all kinds of records.… My brother, he asked me, he said, ‘If he were here right now, 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 started. And I will be there with you every step of the way in your heart.’ So here I am.”
Watch the full speech and her performance of “Together Again” below, courtesy of journalist Roland Martin and the Essence Festival.
rnt— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) July 9, 2018
rnt— ESSENCE Festival (@essencefest) July 9, 2018