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Janet Damita Jo Jackson (born May 16, 1966) is an American singer, songwriter, dancer and actress. Known for a series of sonically innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, as well as elaborate stage shows, television and film roles, she has been a prominent figure in popular culture for over 30 years.
The youngest child of the Jackson family, Jackson began her career with the variety television series The Jacksons in 1976 and went on to appear in other television shows throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, including Good Times and Fame. After signing a recording contract with A&M Records in 1982, she became a pop icon following the release of her third studio album Control (1986). Her collaborations with record producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis incorporated elements of rhythm and blues, funk, disco, rap, and industrial beats, which led to crossover success in popular music. In addition to recognition for the innovation in her records, choreography, music videos, and prominence on radio airplay and MTV, she was acknowledged as a role model for her socially conscious lyrics.
In 1991 Jackson signed the first of two record-breaking multimillion-dollar contracts with Virgin Records, establishing her as one of the highest paid artists in the industry. Her debut album under the label, Janet (1993), saw her develop a public image as a sex symbol as she began to explore sexuality in her work. That same year, she appeared in her first starring film role in Poetic Justice; she has continued to act in feature films. By the end of the 1990s, she was the second most successful recording artist of the decade. The release of her seventh studio album All for You (2001) coincided with a celebration of her impact on popular music as the inaugural MTV Icon. After parting ways with Virgin she released her tenth studio album, Discipline (2008), her first and only album with Island Records. In 2015 she partnered with BMG Rights Management to launch her own record label, Rhythm Nation, and released her eleventh studio album Unbreakable the same year.
Having sold over 100 million records, Jackson is one of the best-selling artists in the history of contemporary music. She has amassed an extensive catalog, with singles such as "Nasty", "Rhythm Nation", "That's the Way Love Goes", "Together Again" and "All for You" among her signature songs; she holds the record for the most consecutive top 10 hits on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart by a female artist with 18. In 2016, Billboard placed her number seven on its list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists, and in 2010 ranked her fifth among the "Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years". In December 2016, the magazine named her the second most successful dance artist of all-time. One of the world's most awarded artists, Jackson's longevity, records and achievements reflect her influence in shaping and redefining the scope of popular music. She has been cited as an inspiration among numerous performers.