Monday, March 10, 2008

Profile of a Janet Fan/Fanatic

"Light skin, dark skin, my Asian persuasion, I got them all that's why these girls out here hatin' cause I'm sexy."

When it comes to loyal fans Janet Jackson does indeed have them all--various ages and ethic backgrounds, gay, straight, those still figuring it out, and even celebrities like Tyra Banks and Ellen DeGeneres are in the mix. With such a broad spectrum of adoration could a Janet fan profile actually exist? Could you be working, studying, or carpooling with a Janet fanatic and not even know it? Probably!

Assuming some of her die-hard fans would be in the audience, I attended the Jimmy Kimmel Show taping last week in hopes of defining what a Janet fan versus a fanatic looked and acted like. But to my surprise there were no outward signs of Janet fans anywhere in the large crowd lined outside the Hollywood Boulevard studio. Not a Janet t-shirt, poster, CD, or even magazine cover could be seen in possession of anyone. Where were all the proud and outwardly expressive fans I expected? No one in line seemed to fit the profile, or so I thought.

Like good books, you shouldn't judge Janet zealots by their covers. While standing amongst the subdued crowd I shouted, "Where are the Janet fans?" Immediately heads turned, but no one responded. So I moved closer to the front of the line and asked again, "Where are all the Janet fans?" Suddenly, a hand went up in the air followed by a "right here!" Jackpot!

What's the difference between a Janet fan and a fanatic?

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What first attracted you?

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And what do you like about the new album, Discipline?

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Once inside, the same fans I talked to outside were given premium front row seats and a few seconds of fame on the show thanks to Kimmel commented on their overwhelming support.

But not all Janet fans/fanatics were in the audience displaying their "hearts" to the multi-platinum selling artist. Backstage in the VIP area were a few industry insiders trying to keep their fan status "on the low". But with a little conversation, their adoration began to show especially when asked about Janet critics.

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So is there a definitive Janet fan or fanatic profile? Yes. However, outwardly it's just as diverse as Skittles candy. It's the actions of these fans/fanatics--the major sacrifices of time, money, and jobs, staging effective e-mail and telephone campaigns, and tattoos in her honor--that defines them, not their appearance. One fanatic even confessed to rearranging store CD displays without permission to put Janet projects in plain view, and the was only the beginning.

Very few artist these days have that kind of following across socio-economic, gender, age, and cultural lines. And even fewer can state they've had it for more than 20 years without really asking for it. But that's the way, that's the way, that's the way love goes! Play the video to see some of the fanatics interviewed and their expressions of love.

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