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Janet Jackson fans celebrate Rock Hall nomination -- finally!

Janet Jackson performs at the Greek Theater on Sept. 1, 2011. The artist has been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the first time after years of being snubbed.

Janet Jackson performs at the Greek Theater on Sept. 1, 2011. The artist has been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the first time after years of being snubbed.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
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Here’s something you may not have known: There is a Facebook page called “Induct Janet Jackson into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” that currently has over 75,000 followers. Their dream is one step closer to coming true.

On Wednesday night the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland announced its nominees for 2016 induction, and the influential dance-pop superstar is a surprise finalist. Jackson, who earned fans for her string of platinum-selling albums in the 1980s and 1990s, most notably “Control,” “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814” and “janet,” has never been nominated for the honor, a reality that has bothered, at last count, at least 75,561 people.

One of them went so far as to submit an open letter to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation president Joel Peresman. “Janet’s legion of fans remains extremely passionate about my goal, and as a vibrant community, we were crushed that she was passed over as a selection once again,” wrote Jackson enthusiast Mike Litherland after the 2015 snub. The writer also created the Facebook page, and has been republishing the letter as the nomination deadline has loomed.

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At 11 p.m. when the news was announced, the page lit up with celebratory glee. Stage one accomplished — at least until the inductees are selected.

“YOU DID IT!!! — feeling proud,” wrote one fan.

Another commenced campaigning for Jackson’s induction: “Vote for Janet!”

“You guys did it! Congratulations on a well-earned nomination,” wrote a fan, commended the Facebook page organizers while acknowledging another nominee. “I’ll be pleased as punch if your favourite snub gets inducted in the same class as mine, Chicago.”

Whether the campaign was responsible for the nomination is debatable, but the open letter made some points that bear repeating for would-be skeptics.

Noting that Jackson had been available for induction for nearly a decade, Litherland devoted admirable logic to argue his points. He cited Jackson’s fan base, her astonishing sales figures (according to the letter, 140 million records sold worldwide), her awards (six Grammys and many American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, MTV Icons and others) and, most important for Hall of Fame purposes, her influence.

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Argued Litherland: “Janet pioneered the blueprint for the Pop/R&B/Dance female artist, and that blueprint continues to be sought after by today’s top male and female artists. You cannot attend a dance/pop concert now without seeing staging elements from Janet’s past triumphant tours, similar choreography, and similar fan interaction segments. She executed these carefully crafted facets of her concerts decades before others joined the pack, and all of her superstar qualities continue to be emulated by female and male performers alike.”

Music videos? Janet rules, wrote Litherland. “Janet paved the way for all female artists with her innovative and groundbreaking videos, which remain unmatched in today’s era of music. She cemented a crossover appeal as a female pop artist that will serve as her unfinished legacy. Imitation is indeed the highest form of flattery.”

The letter acknowledged the important work of her collaborators Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and placed her achievements as a pop star alongside what the writer describes as “an elite status of current Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members like brother Michael, Prince, Donna Summer and Madonna.”

The letter closes with a reference to her longevity in the business — Jackson just released her new album, “Unbreakable” — a final plea and a reference to Jackson’s one major slip.

“The time has come for her to receive a coveted nomination and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I certainly hope the Super Bowl performance isn’t keeping her out of consideration. After all – what’s more rock & roll than that?!”

Points well taken. Not that the “Induct Janet Jackson into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame” page drew many detractors. One fan was a little confused, though.

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“Janet made the Rock N Roll HOF!!!!! Hell Yes Baby!!!!”

Not quite yet.

Jackson stands along fellow nominees Chicago, Cheap Trick, Deep Purple, the Cars, Chaka Khan, Chic, the J.B.’s, Los Lobos, Steve Miller, N.W.A, Nine Inch Nails, the Smiths, the Spinners and Yes.

Jackson fans -- and everyone else -- will be allowed to vote for their favorite nominee’s inclusion at the hall’s website, www.rockhall.org, from Oct. 8 through Dec. 9. The 2016 induction ceremony will occur in New York in April.

Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit

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