Janet Jackson paid tribute to her brother, Michael Jackson, and father, Joe, during an emotional set at the Global Citizen Festival on Saturday, September 29.
The R&B superstar hit the stage minutes after Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, one of the New York event’s organisers, was called upon to calm the audience, after a barrier collapsed.
Fans panicked and started running away from the stage, fearing that someone was shooting at them.
Janet opened her hit-laden set with “Skin Game” before launching into tracks like “All for You”, “That’s the Way Love Goes”, “What Have You Done for Me Lately” and “When I Think of You”.
During the emotionally-charged set, Janet honoured her late brother as she looked to the heavens and shouted, “Let’s go, Mike!” before launching into their 1998 duet, “Scream”.
And while singing “Together Again”, images of Janet and her late father Joe appeared on stage screens. In the middle of the song, she looked to the sky again, and said: “I miss you. I love you. Both of you.”
Michael died in June, 2009, and Janet’s father Joe passed away in June after a battle with a pancreatic cancer.
Janet also touched on the hot button issue of women’s equality and the sexual abuse faced by millions of women and girls around the world during her set.
Before performing her iconic track Rhythm Nation, the 52-year-old told the crowd, “Like millions of other women out there, I know about bullying. I know about verbal abuse. I know about physical abuse. I know about abuse of authority.”
She fumed, “I’m sick, I’m repulsed, I’m infuriated by the double standards that continue to treat women as second-class citizens. Enough, you guys! Enough injustice. Enough bigotry. Equality is our demand. Action is our answer. Let’s go!”