Growing up with the Jackson 5 for brothers, Janet Jackson got used to partying with celebrities from a young age.
After the Jackson family moved from a two-bedroom house in Gary, Indiana, to a three-acre home in Los Angeles in 1971, they regularly hosted stars like Diana Ross, Bing Crosby, Marvin Gaye and Sammy Davis Jr.
The new documentary “Janet Jackson” — which will premiere on Lifetime and A&E in two parts on Friday and Saturday nights — revisits a night when one such Starman showed up with his own party favors.
“I remember one of the parties we had, [David] Bowie came,” Janet Jackson said of her family’s contact with Ziggy Stardust. “And I guess to get away from everyone he was looking for a small room.”
As the late rock legend was looking for a private place to indulge himself, he came across two of the Jackson brothers.
“Michael and I are sitting in one of the other rooms away from the party,” Randy Jackson said. “So Bowie comes in and … he offered us some of what he does to get high.
“We just looked at each other. We were like, ‘No.’ We didn’t know what it was, but it was like, ‘No, no thanks.’ »
But the Jacksons were not so welcomed by everyone in the affluent white neighborhood of Encino.
“They had this petition going around to get us out of the neighborhood,” Janet said.
“I remember walking down the street and being called the N-word, someone walking past and shouting… [being] said to go back to the countryside, to feel it at school with some teachers and some kids touching your hair because your hair was different from theirs.
Always under the strict rule of their father Joe Jackson, the Jackson kids — with Janet being the youngest of nine — thrived on that racism.
“My siblings always told me why my dad was so strict,” said Janet, who was mentored by her late father early in her career.
In fact, after his brothers fired their father as manager, Joe Jackson set out to make Janet an even bigger star than Michael – though she would eventually go it alone with her Breakthrough of 1986 “Control”.
Still, Janet acknowledges that her father’s determination on behalf of his children was fundamental. “It’s thanks to my father that I had the career that I had,” she added.