Last night I took my Uncle out for an early Christmas gift to see Janet Jackson live. He had no idea she was in town and I didn't tell him why I passionately requested that he clear his schedule for Saturday. When we got downtown and walked to the arena to stand in line, I pointed at the people's shirts that adorned Janet's face. His response? "Are you serious?!"
Janet's "Velvet Rope Tour" back in 1998 was my first concert. That alone set the stage for nostalgia. Speaking of nostalgia, it wasn't just about the top 10 classics that were as old as me. It wasn't about the mesmerizing choreography or the memorable guitar riffs and melodies. Janet was nostalgically Janet. Advocate for justice and humanitarian using her platform to be a voice to the voiceless. She spoke out against police brutality as if it were 1989 and Rhythm Nation was charted on Billboard. But it's not. It's 2017, yet the same issues that plagued our society then, still plague it now. Nostalgia.
The most gripping moment probably came during her performance of "What About" that tackles issues of abuse and domestic violence. While in the second chorus, I noticed that Janet wasn't singing anymore. I wondered if she was just saving up for the bridge. However, when the band got to the bridge, Janet tried to sing but was choked with emotion. She was in tears. I imagine because of the heart she has for those suffering, in the same ways she's suffered in the past.
She even treated the audience to a performance of "Scream," Her duet with big brother Michael. I was almost in tears at this point. Being able to hear Michael's perfect vocals blare over a crowd of thousands was something I'd always dreamed of hearing. Sad that it came in this way, but I'm thankful for it, still.
And to be there with my Uncle Ricky who was my first best friend. A man I've idolized for my entire life who introduced me to Janet, Michael, and the rest of the Jacksons in the first place. It was a Christmas gift for him, but we enjoyed it equally. They say it's better to give than receive. Last night, they were one in the same.