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Janet Jackson, a lawyer? It could have happened, she says

Janet Jackson
Honoree Janet Jackson speaks at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York in March.
(Evan Agostini / Associated Press)

If not for her notorious father, Joe Jackson, Janet Jackson might be an attorney today instead of a pop star. And if not for her famous brother Michael Jackson, an interview with her might actually be all about her.

But Janet is related to Joe, and to Michael, and that’s how the “What Have You Done for Me Lately” singer came to be talking about her brother’s legacy in an interview with the Sunday Times of London.

Michael Jackson’s legacy “will continue,” the 53-year-old predicted, amid talking about her young son, Eissa, and how over the years she’s taken control of her own life.

“I love it when I see kids emulating him, when adults still listen to his music,” Janet said. “It just lets you know the impact that my family has had on the world. I hope I’m not sounding arrogant in any way — I’m just stating what is. It’s really all God’s doing.”

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God also figured into Joe Jackson’s decision about the path Janet would take in life — a decision she remembered quite clearly. She wanted to be a lawyer and an actress, “and my father told me ‘no.’”

When she was 13, she had written a song, she said, and played all the parts and sang all the backgrounds. All the tracks were laid down in a studio at her parents’ house.

“I came home from school one day and they were playing it loudly. …. I was just so embarrassed,” Janet told the newspaper. “That’s when my father said to me, ‘You’re going to sing.’

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“I told him I wanted to go to school and study business law. I really wanted to make my way by acting. That was how I was going to pay for my schooling. He felt that God had a different path for me.”

Now, Joe Jackson is gone, as is Michael Jackson. And while Janet Jackson, Esq., never saw the light of day, Janet Jackson the pop star is still going strong.

Not a bad path, “Nasty” girl.

cdz@latimes.com

@theCDZ on Twitter and Instagram


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