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Though she’s historically noted as one of the highest selling artists in the history of contemporary music, Janet Jackson‘s cultural influence transcends record sales.
At a time when racial boundaries in the music industry set limitations, Janet Jackson was among the few trailblazers who helped push black artistry into the American and international mainstream. She rebuilt the landscape of pop and R&B, and created a path for new generations of legendary women to make art that reflects their truest selves. Through her image, sexuality, and message, she helped foster visibility to a new kind of feminism in music.
Though her style, sound, and image have transformed over the course of her 40-year-long career, what’s remained constant is her commitment to owning her narrative and showing women how they can, too.
We caught up with legendary Jackson to speak about women’s empowerment, equality, and Uber’s contributions to pushing these social movements forward within the corporate world.
After hopping out of the train on 125th street, Janet Jackson made her way to Harlem Week’s block party with Uber.
There, at Harlem Week, which celebrated this year’s theme of Women Transforming Our World: Past, Present and Future, the singer, songwriter, dancer, and actress was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce & MTA for her cultural contributions in entertainment.
The partnership between Uber and Okayplayer underscores Janet’s views on how she sees the company making strides in creating spaces for women and what that means for her as a lifelong advocate of empowering women both in and outside of music.
“I think it’s great that they’re so supportive of women — especially women of color,” Jackson said. “And to be such a major company, to take that path … it’s big and it’s important.”
Jackson sees that there is a societal shift happening and Uber has taken the lead. Uber has established Women of Uber and UberHue, two initiatives dedicated towards building a more diverse and inclusive community within the Uber family.
“Equality is definitely on the rise,” Jackson said. “It’s gonna take a minute, but more and more people are talking about it.”
When Jackson arrived at the Harlem Day Block Party she was showered with love and praise by her fans who endured the New York City heat. Jackson has been known to embrace her fans with that same kind of love.
Okayplayer asked fans and block party attendees to speak on the importance of Janet Jackson’s artistry and legacy, and how her influence has empowered them.
“It’s confidence, it’s perfection. She works so hard. We were sitting there listening to all of these hits that they were playing back-to-back-to-back all by one person— crazy! How could you even get that much done in a lifetime.”
Director: Brittany “B.Monét” Fennell
Producer: Ayana Barber
Director Of Photography: Barbie Leung
Editor: Nick Caiazza
Production Assistant: Ambar Baez
Original Music by: The Diaspora Dialogues and Koshie Mills
Production Company: Keep Productions Inc.