A new era of Janet Jackson is coming. She’s been teasing it since May when she performed at the Billboard Music Awards and received the Icon Award. At the time, I wrote that I hoped the support we’ve been seeing for Janet via hashtags like #JusticeForJanet during the Super Bowl (#NeverForget) and the overwhelmingly positive response to her Billboards performance would extend into this album cycle. 

We now have a sneak peek at the aesthetic of Janet’s new work. She’s been shooting a music video in Brooklyn since Monday. Based on the photos alo ne, it looks like Janet is going to be integrating a lot of African influence into the video. We don’t know yet if the inspiration comes from a specific country or if Janet’s new music will embrace traditional African music but I do hope that if Janet is implementing African percussions and rhythms in her new music that there are artists and producers from the continent involved. This could be an incredible chance to showcase dancers, artists and producers from Africa that haven’t yet broken into the mainstream pop world. 

So, about these outfits. There has been some backlash to these outfits. Listen, I would never wear any of these combinations of clothing together but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the look. I like each specific piece and print (except maybe for the belts) but together, it’s a lot. I still refuse to judge any of these looks until I hear the music and see the music video in full. 

There’s a clip floating around of Janet in full costume, strutting down the street with her backup dancers in complete silence. 

They have IFBs in so they can still hear the song, right? Of course, they’re making sure that snippets of the song aren’t released before Janet’s ready. This makes me think that the song (rumoured to be featuring Daddy Yankee) and the video will drop at the same time. A visual album perhaps? I am READY. My dear friend and colleague Denise, the biggest Janet stan I know, just gave birth to a baby girl this week. New material from Janet would make this time in her life even more special. For Denise’s baby shower, I learned (barely) part of the choreography from “Together Again” for a video tribute we put together for her at work. It was HARD. Anyway, I bring up “Together Again” because that video had a bit of a sub-Saharan Africa desert vibe. Her looks in that video were fire. I trust Janet’s taste and I trust her choreo skills. If this new video is even half as good as “Together Again,” it’s going to be SO GOOD. Let’s not judge it before it gets here. Let’s have faith in Miss Jackson. 

If you want more Janet Jackson to end off your week, here’s a piece featuring Janet’s best friend talking about her hustle and why lately, she’s been throwing herself into her work.