On Friday night, Lifetime and A&E dropped the first two parts of “Janet,” a riveting four-part documentary about the life of Janet Jackson tied to the 40th anniversary of the singer’s self-titled debut album.
Michael Jackson almost got introduced to drugs at an early age. According to his brother Randy Jackson (II), David Bowie offered him and his elder brother drugs at one of the parties they had when they were young.
In Janet Jackson’s new eponymous documentary that premieres on Lifetime and A&E in two parts over Friday, January 28 and Saturday, January 29, Janet and her brother Randy talk about the culture shock they experienced after their family moved from a two-bedroom house in Gary, Indiana, to a three-acre home in Los Angeles in 1971. They would regularly host parties which were attended by big stars like Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis Jr., Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross.
“We had three acres, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a badminton court. We used to have parties all the time, all the entertainers would be there,” Janet recalls, before starting the story about their encounter with David.
“I remember one of the parties that we had, [David Bowie] came,” she says, before adding, “and I guess to get away from everyone he was looking for a little room.” As the English rockstar went in search of a private spot, he ran into two of the Jackson brothers.
Randy then continues the story. “Michael and I are sitting in one of the other rooms away from the party. Bowie walks in and …” he says with a laugh. “He offered us some of what he was doing to get high. We just looked at each other like, no, we didn’t no what it was. ‘No thank you!’ ”
Regardless their big name in the industry, the Jackson family wasn’t so welcomed in the neighborhood as they were the first black family to move into the neighborhood. “They had this petition going around, so that we wouldn’t be in the neighborhood,” Janet shares, before opening up about some of the other racist discrimination she experienced after the Encino transfer.
“I remember walking down the street and being called the N-word, someone driving by, yelling it out, be told to go back home to your country,” she says. “Feeling it at school with some of the teachers and some of the kids, touching your hair because your hair was different from theirs. Or your skin, rubbing it. ‘Does that come off?’ ‘No, does yours.’ I didn’t have a lot of friends. I had a couple. But my closest were my brothers and sisters.”
Airing simultaneously on both Lifetime and A&E, the four-part series continues on Saturday, Jan. 29.