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Why Janet Jackson isn't a billionaire (technically)

Why Janet Jackson isn't a billionaire (technically)
Janet Jackson has been named a billion-dollar entertainer, which isn't the same things as being named a billionaire. (Samir Hussein / Getty Images)

Janet Jackson has reportedly joined the billionaires club. Funny thing: The singer isn't actually a billionaire. 

The pop star, 47, was named a "billion dollar entertainer" by Variety, but depending on how you calculate net worth, it doesn't actually mean she's a billionaire at all.

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In fact, the only "billionaire"-related reference from Variety comes in the form of a small black label on the article that actually reads "Billion-dollar entertainer: Janet Jackson." That phrase has been garbled up in the news cycle to mean "billionaire." Which it doesn't.

The Variety story about Miss Jackson is surrounded by full-page ads from AIDS advocacy group amFar congratulating her on that achievement, and some sidebars on her choreography and philanthropic work. However, nowhere in the story (which also doesn't quote her) does it say that she's a billionaire. But several media outlets have been touting and sourcing the trade publication, asserting that she is.

The AIDS prevention advocate's illustrious career is marked by numerous No. 1 singles and has sold 100 million albums worldwide and a bevy of film roles. The "pop heiress" has taken her time to develop as an uber-successful artist rather than resting on the laurels of her famous brother and iconic last name.

She's also made $81 million in music and book publishing, $260 million in album sales, $458 million in worldwide tour grosses, $60 million in tour sponsorships, $21.5 million in licensing and $304 million at the box office, which adds up to well over a billion dollars.

However, as Forbes' Dorothy Pomerantz points out, that doesn't make her a billionaire.

"Net worth is based on the value of the cash and assets you have at the moment, not on how much your work has brought in over a lifetime," according to the magazine.

Jackson's camp could not confirm or deny that she was a billionaire, indicating that it wasn't information she made public.

"What Variety had, to the best of my knowledge, is all correct," her rep told the Ministry. "As to whether she is or isn't a billionaire, that's not information that has been or would be imparted to me."

"She's an exceedingly bright business person in all forms of life, including entertainment," the rep added. "There's people whose money goes and people whose money grows, and she's very astute with her finances."

What we do know is that it's an honor for Jackson to be getting this recognition, and she

is

very, very wealthy. But if she's a billionaire, she's not saying. And maybe "It Doesn't Really Matter."

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