Music Musings: Janet Jackson’s Control– 30 Y.O.

Long before Adele or Taylor Swift were household names, All eyes and ears in the pop music world were affixed to the one and only Janet Jackson. Through iconic albums like janet., The Velvet Rope and Rhythm Nation, she broke barriers regarding race, gender, artistic expression, and celebrity involvement in social justice.

However to get to the point of icon, Janet first had to make an impact, and enter the mainstage of pop culture. Thirty years ago today, Jackson forged this path with the release of Control.

Here’s how Brannon Smith of Ebony Magazine celebrated the album back in 2014…

If Beyoncé is “the album that is going to launch a thousand women’s studies papers,” then Janet Jackson’s Control is the album that launched a thousand feminist music careers. Nearly 30 years after its initial release, the groundbreaking album still stands as one of the boldest statements in the history of Black feminist music, and Janet’s storied career remains an often-referenced blueprint for a legion of female performers following in her fearless footsteps.

In August 1985, Janet Jackson left the glamour of her show business upbringing and set out for Minneapolis — the home of former Prince protégés Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. By this time, 19-year-old Janet had starred in three TV shows, been married to and split from an addiction-plagued James DeBarge, and fired an overbearing Joe Jackson as her manager. She was coming into her own as a woman — and she, Jam and Lewis were determined to chronicle that evolution on her third studio album, Control. Unlike the music of her safe, bubble-gummy debut, Janet Jackson, and its follow-up, Dream Street, Control was largely autobiographical — relaying honest, raw stories born out of real-life events.

Though Jackson had recorded two albums before Control (in addition to an already impressive acting career), the collaboration with legendary producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis stood out because it was Janet that co-wrote the songs, and spoke the truth about her life at the time.

30 years on, Control still resonates as the quintessential ‘Janet Jackson’ album. From the sensuous, sultry moans of Funny How Time Flies, irresistible club starters like The Pleasure Principle, the tight vocal harmonies and surprising character voices of Nasty, to the delightful  interlude opening and jazz pop fusions of What Have You Done For Me Lately?, all the elements of how we understand Janet Jackson as an artist can be found on Control. And oh yeah… Don’t ever forget those FINGER SNAPS!!

Basically, with Control, it was clear that Jackson and her collaborators had found the recipe for success, and we as a music-loving public are all the better for it.

 

And in case this post has you wondering ‘What Has Janet Done For You Lately?’, then you need to check out her new album Unbreakable. If you haven’t bought it yet, go get a copy along with a new copy of Control, and play them back to back. You might be surprised at what you hear.  And the Unbreakable World Tour??  Not to be missed!!

During this Black History month, what better way to celebrate with a truly impressive milestone. Thank you Janet Jackson for releasing your masterpiece to the world, 30 years ago today.

Control 30

Texoblogosphere: Week of February 1st

The Texas Progressive Alliance is ready to be able to ignore Iowa again as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff highlighted how the tables got turned on the video fraudsters who tried to sting Planned Parenthood.

Libby Shaw is quite pleased to learn that in Texas justice can trump politics, in the most ironic way. The Texas Blues: A Stunning Royal Backfire.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme knows Texas Republicans love business owners way more than citizens. Why else do they allow dangerous companies operate next to schools?

With the Iowa caucuses looming, a pair of Clinton-supporting bloggers played the “soshulist” card. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs is at least glad to see that some Democrats know how to find — and push — the panic button.

From Bay Area Houston Can the Party carry Sanders’ socialist message? And win?

With words like “pragmatism” now on the table, SocraticGadfly looks at who the more “can-do” Democratic presidential candidate is, and shows that it’s Bernie Sanders.

Neil at All People Have Value considered both everyday life and the full picture at the intersection of Main & Cosmos in Houston. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Harold Cook reviews Jay Newton-Small’s book Broad influence; How Women Are Changing the Way America Works.

Keep Austin Wonky interviews Travis County Commissioner candidate James Nortey.

Raise Your Hand Texas quantifies Texas school enrollment.

Raj Mankad rides along on a driverless car test drive.

Rainey Knudsen pens an open letter to the other 49 states.

Grits for Breakfast wishes he had been wrong about the effect of a new law allowing police to use license plate readers.

Francisca Ortega reports that many child brides are still being forced to marry in the United States.

Rick Campbell tells of a quest to help Houston preserve its music history.

Katharine Shilcutt sets the record straight on Texas food.

The Makeshift Academic explores ways to limit the potential damage of the Friedrichs decision.

Texoblogosphere: Week of January 25th

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes everyone stays safe in the snow as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff interviewed Harris County Sheriff candidates Ed Gonzalez and Jeff Stauber.

SocraticGadfly questions the mainstream media narrative that the GOP presidential race is down to a Trump-Cruz two person event with this analysis and has a follow-up skewering of the Trump-Palin fun coming.

State Sen. Rodney Ellis, state Rep. Garnet Coleman, three current and one former Houston city councilmen all want to take the place of the recently-departed Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee on the November ballot. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has the latest on the most highly contested 2016 race that you won’t be eligible to vote for.

Of course the frackers are big GOP donors. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme knows that the Texas Republicans don’t work for you. They work for their rich buddies.

Neil at All People Have Value took a Martin Luther King Day picture of two different types of birds sharing space in peace. We could learn from these birds. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Keep Austin Wonky interviews Texas House candidate Huey Rey Fischer.

The Current advertises a movie screening to raise money for the Texas Civil Rights Project.

Texans for Public Justice filed a complaint with the FEC against Ted Cruz for his failure to report those Goldman Sachs and Citibank loans from 2012.

Anastasia Hansen tells you things you may not have known about Houston’s bus system.

Progress Texas documents four decades of Texas abortion laws.

 

These Boots were made for Walkin??  Only if you’re tall enough to touch the Texas skies.

For 36 years, ‘The Giant Justins’, a sculpture by Bob “Daddy-O” Wade have greeted shoppers, tourists and fans at San Antonio’s North Star Mall.  The 40 foot tall twins have been certified as the tallest pair of boots in the world by the Guinness Book of Records.  So there you go folks.  Everything may not be bigger in Texas, but at least when it comes to boots, we’re walkin’ all over the competition.

Big Boots SA

Photo credit:  The Travel Nurse Blog

SCOTUS to Hear Case, Hopefully Settle ‘Immigration Action’ Stalemate

By this point in the Obama Presidency, one thing is clear… the legacy of our nation’s 44th President is not being debated in the halls Congress, but in the halls of our nation’s highest courts.  Such was the case with the President’s landmark legislative achievement– the 2010 Affordable Care Act, and again the case in last year’s historic ruling which brought Marriage Equality of to all 50 states.

And yesterday, it was revealed that one more cornerstone move by the Obama Administration will also get its day at the Supreme Court.  From Amy Howe of SCOTUS blog, here are the details…

In the summer of 2014, efforts to pass new laws to overhaul the country’s immigration system seemed to be on a slow road to nowhere.  In remarks at the White House on June 30 , President Barack Obama announced that then-House Speaker John Boehner had told him that Republicans would “block a vote on immigration reform at least for the remainder of this year.”  Arguing that “Americans can’t wait forever” for Republicans to act on immigration, Obama indicated that he planned to go it alone.

And he did.  In November of that year, Obama announced a new policy that would allow undocumented immigrants who can meet two criteria – they have children who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (also known as “Green Card holders”) and they have been in the United States at least since January 2010 – to apply for a program that would allow them to stay in the country for three years and work here legally.

The policy, which could allow as many as four million undocumented immigrants to remain in the country, never went into effect.  Instead, Texas and twenty-five other states went to federal court to try to block it.  So far, they have been successful:  a federal trial judge issued an order to keep the policy from going into effect, and a federal appeals court upheld that ruling.

The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to weigh in, and today the Justices agreed to do so. This means that the Court will almost certainly hear oral arguments in the case in late April, with a decision expected in late June – just as the 2016 presidential campaign, in which immigration has already played a major role, really starts to heat up.

Given how bonkers the race for the White House has been so far, “heat up” doesn’t even begin to describe what could occur with this new drama thrown into the mix.

But even accepting the drama, the court’s decision to hear this case is beyond critical.  Congress has simply refused to take any action towards Comprehensive Immigration Reform, even as American families continue to be torn apart by the deportation of their loved ones.  Instead of doing what is best for the nation, Republicans in particular (though plenty of Democrats share the shame of this issue as well) have chosen to take the “easy way out”– blame President Obama for everything wrong with the system, and avoid the issue as long as possible.

One other essential point, the case states are waging against Obama’s Immigration Action Plan is in itself something of a long, overly politicized farce.  For starters, Texas has been begging the Supreme Court to not weigh in on the matter.  Eventhough they (we??  UGH) are lead plaintiffs in the case, they would rather keep the issue in legal limbo than actually get any answers that would help real Texas families figure out what to do.

Secondly, the states’ argument is is inherently unequal.  They are essentially petitioning for the Executive Branch to do its job less well.  The whole reason that an Immigration Action Plan is needed is because the United States cannot deport all of the undocumented persons within its borders at any given time.  This creates the absolute necessity for prioritization.  The states themselves would never do this.  If Greg Abbott announced today that he was going to fill every pothole that existed in the state of Texas within 24 hours, people would laugh off his words because the task is simply not possible.  Yet in their petition, they are asking the Federal government to sustain a system that is just as senseless.  By rejecting these prioritization policies by the Obama Administration these states are asking for the courts to let our communities be less safe, to continue to orphan more American citizens by tearing their families apart, and to not seek and remove dangerous criminals from our streets.

Third, a central point of the state case again boils down to resources. Admittedly, this is a valid argument in many respects, as it is state and local government that ultimately must implement this Federal policy, and would bear the cost of processing the deferred action requests.  But the question to ask here is whether or not this presents an “undue burden to the state.  For all of the time that it takes to enact a DACA or DAPA request, how much time and money is being saved by not having to enact the expensive and often tragic processes of deportation?  If our communities are ultimately safer and better by bringing people out in the open, do those temporary inconveniences bear better results in the end?  While these questions are still up for debate, many legal scholars consider the Obama Administration’s case for the plan to be very strong.

For all of the above reasons and more, let’s hope that the Supreme Court’s decision to take up the case will lead to a common-sense result.

Scotus Texas

MLK’s Dream in 2016

On this 2016 commemoration day for the Reverend Marting Luther King Jr., an assessment of his Dream can be most clearly found in a voice from the past.

The poem Harlem by Langston Hughes…

 

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

 

Though his writings pre-date King and the American Civil Rights movement by a generation, their message still rings clear into the 21st Century. Much progress has been made, but Americans are now living in a time where the rights that we treasure are slowly slipping away. The only way to stop this is to get involved and work for the rights of all.

#BlackLivesMatter #EveryLifeMatters

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Texoblogosphere: Week of December 22nd

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes Ag Commissioner Sid Miller a happy holiday as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff reviews who filed for what in the Democratic primaries in Texas.

The Green Party of Texas filed almost sixty candidates for state and local offices for the 2016 election, reports PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

SocraticGadfly dips into the archives and offers up thoughts on that Christmas chestnut “It’s a Wonderful Life,” including what a remake might look like, and a follow-up post about all of what’s wrong with the original.

Greg Abbott reacts to children coming to America by sending troops. Obama looks at solving problems in Central America. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is disgusted that the only tools Republicans have are military force, fear and hate.

Neil at All People Have Value said that we would be better off with the values of Christmas rather than with the values of commerce. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Mean Rachel wishes Rep. Elliott Naishtat a fond farewell.

Texas Watch is pressing the TEA for more information about school bus safety.

Next City believes that urbanists will like Houston Mayor-elect Sylvester Turner.

Christopher Hooks analyzes the recent mock mass shooting.

Chris Brantner has some advice for cable cord cutters.

John Wright proposes five New Year’s resolutions for the LGBT movement.

Paradise in Hell tries to distinguish between Ted Cruz’s lies.

Kyle Jack lists outgoing Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s top ten snarky tweets.

Bayou Bend Xmas

Today’s feature photo is of the Holiday lights at Bayou Bend— a division of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.  The lights display entitled Christmas Village, runs now through December 30th.

Texoblogosphere: Week of December 7th

The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks we need fewer thoughts and more actions to curb gun violence as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff has been following the legal standoff between Greg Abbott and refugee relief organizations with increasing disbelief.

Libby Shaw contributing to Daily Kos is not the least bit surprised to learn the Texas Republican Party dances with the absurdity of secession again. We’re back in the silly season of elections. TX GOP: So it now it wants to secede?”

Socratic Gadfly heard about Mark Zuckerberg’s alleged shiny new charity, looked at it, and saw it was full of problems. Then, when some “pseudoskeptics” either claimed he was wrong, or else did special pleading for Zuckerberg, he took a closer look and found it was even worse.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme thinks Ted Cruz is a mansplaining *&% for saying condoms are all a women needs in the way of reproductive health care.

“Thoughts and prayers” as gun safety policy from too many Republicans who are responsible for crafting laws which protect Americans…. isn’t. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs would like to see something more effective to stop the carnage in this country.

Neil at All People Have Value took a good picture of Downtown Houston at night. Our everyday lives have a lot of value. We should assert this value each day. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

David Ortez gives three reasons why decriminalizing first-time marijuana possession cases will be good for Harris County.

Lone Star Ma highlights the Sustainable Development Goal of ending hunger.

Robert Rivard examines the science and denial of climate change.

TFN Insider asks why Greg Aboot is bullying faith-based organizations when he claims to support religious freedom.

Lize Burr delves into the Great Disappearing Condom Machine Mystery.

Grits for Breakfast discusses the role of plea bargains in unjust convictions.

A Voice for the Rest of Texas