On this Day 13 Years Ago…
P!nk, Usher & Mya Perform a Dance Medley Tribute for Janet Jackson at the First Inaugural MTV ICON Ceremony, 2001
The year was 2001 and Janet Jackson was riding high off her stellar success in the 90’s: numerous hit singles, two iconic albums, janet. (1993) and The Velvet Rope (1997) that sold in busloads with inclusion to their groundbreaking accompanying tours. At that point, she could have never put out a single record again - she was a living legend whose artistry was already starting to take shape in the younger generation after her. So to honor her, MTV made her the first-ever recipient of the MTV ICON tribute.
One of the evening’s highlights came when Aaliyah (R.I.P Baby Girl but I wanted to see you dance!) came out to introduce P!nk, Usher and Mya who performed a recreation of some Janet’s most iconic choreographed pieces from her music videos. P!nk was first, taking on Miss You Much (Janet Jackson’s Rhythm 1814, 1989) which shocked the hell out of me because I had no idea she could move like that (she’s more of a rocker girl as opposed to Britney’s then effervescent dance-diva persona). Usher followed up with an energetic showing of Alright (also from Rhythm Nation). He was confident and perfectly captured Jan’s precision as dancer - complete with his never-tiring splits! Last but not least was Mya who went solo with Pleasure Principle. Homegirl killed her part, especially in the mirror sequence. She’s criminally underrated and could blow any Pop girl in the dance department (my girl, Ciara included). Finally, all three joined forces to perform the pinnacle of Janet’s videography, Rhythm Nation and watching it again just reminds me of what’s missing in today’s Pop performances - innovative choreography!
Anyway, it was fantastic to see these then-fresh artists who are now stars in their own right pay tribute to one of the greatest to ever do this thing called Pop music, Janet Miss Jackson if you’re nasty.