Since Janet Jackson is the 2018 ESSENCE Festival headliner, she’s also the publication’s cover girl for the July/August 2018 issue.
In the hot summer periodical, Janet graces the cover in a gold blazer and her dazzling, signature smile. The cover story is an open letter penned by the 52-year-old living legend as she opens up about motherhood and even darker things like battling depression.
In the revealing article, Janet explains that her darkest days were in her 30s and 40s but now she’s happier than ever.
“In my thirties: I was happy with my growth as an artist. I was happy to write and sing about life experiences, like sensual pleasure, and nonmaterial matters, like faith, with less self-consciousness. I’ve always tried to deepen my faith. I was happy that while I might not have found a spiritual solution to my problems, I was on a spiritual path. I read somewhere it’s not about the destination, but the journey. Deep down I may have known that true happiness is not in the accomplishment but in the learning process leading to accomplishment.
Yet I still had not embraced this idea. It was an abstract concept, not an emotional reality. These were difficult years, when I struggled with depression. The struggle was intense. I could analyze the source of my depression forever. Low self-esteem might be rooted in childhood feelings of inferiority. It could relate to failing to meet impossibly high standards. And of course there are always the societal issues of racism and sexism. Put it all together and depression is a tenacious and scary condition. Thankfully, I found my way through it.”
She revealed that in her forties, she questioned her value as a woman because of societal devaluations. She continues:
“In my forties – Like millions of women in the world, I still heard voices inside my head berating me, voices questioning my value. Happiness was elusive. A reunion with old friends might make me happy. A call from a colleague might make me happy. But because sometimes I saw my failed relationships as my fault, I easily fell into despair.”
But now in her early 50s, Janet says she’s happier than ever as a divorcee and the mother of her toddler son, Eissa. Her freedom and being a nurturer is what brings her loads of joy.
“…The height of happiness is holding my baby son in my arms and hearing him coo, or when I look into his smiling eyes and watch him respond to my tenderness. When I kiss him. When I sing him softly to sleep. During those sacred times, happiness is everywhere. Happiness is in gratitude to God. Happiness is saying, ‘Thank you, God, for my life, my energy and my capacity to grow in love.’ ”
Read the rest of the cover story when it hits newsstands on June 22nd.