“Rhythm Nation.” “Nasty.” “Feedback.” The list seemingly goes on forever when it comes to influential Janet Jackson music videos. The youngest Jackson’s visuals have been the blueprint of so many pop stars, from Britney Spears to Jennifer Lopez, thanks to her unparalleled choreography and inimitable vibe. Ahead, we traced Jackson’s entire music video journey, from her very first video to her latest.
Jackson was only 16 years old in her very first music video. In “Dream Street,” Jackson plays a young dancer who moves to Hollywood to make it big. In retrospect, it was pretty prescient.
This massively influential early hit from Jackson remains iconic for her impeccable choreography, with even Britney Spears paying homage to its dance and video many times during her tours.
With voluminous ‘80s hair and a bright colorful ‘fit, Jackson proved that her music videos deserved to be recognized as much for their style as for their choreography.
It’s just Jackson dancing alone in a warehouse with a single chair in this simple video that’s been referenced by dozens of pop stars since. Chairs, by the way, will become an important piece of furniture in Jackson’s future music videos.
The quintessential Jackson video, “Rhythm Nation” set the gold standard for dance videos. Everything about it — from Jackson’s military costume to the industrial warehouse set and her angular choreography — is instantly recognizable.
Janet and Michael finally collide in this wacky, gravity-defying visual for their song “Scream,” which at the time of its release was the most expensive music video ever made. Their synchronized dance break is especially a sight to see.
The first of seven videos directed by Dave Meyers, Jackson’s “All For You” visual is a veritable Y2K time capsule, complete with futuristic CGI editing, wind-swept hair, and midriff-baring styling.
Released after Jackson’s controversial Super Bowl incident, this video was subsequently blacklisted by MTV, which is a shame as it was pretty innovative for its time; for most of it, she films herself dancing, selfie-style.
Four years later, Jackson made an explosive comeback with “Feedback,” due in part to its instantly memorable music video which showed a cat-suited Jackson embarking on a galactic takeover.
The latest music video Jackson’s released is this colorful collaboration with Daddy Yankee. Filmed in Brooklyn, NY, it featured a bunch of dancers flown in from across the globe and Jackson herself in various elaborate outfits.