WHO SHE IS: Part of the Jackson family, which should need absolutely no introduction; we shouldn’t even have to mention her older brother Michael here. But more than that, she’s a legend in any and all of these arenas: R&B, pop, dance, style, independence, any combination of the above.
BEST KNOWN FOR: Where do you start? With the Jacksons? With breakout solo album Control, a Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis-produced firebomb of a dance-funk album, fierce and effortless, and singles like “Nasty,” “Control” and “The Pleasure Principle”? With “Rhythm Nation” and its iconic choreography? With her equally solid string of singles well into the 2000s, like “All For You” and “Someone to Call My Lover”?
STILL GETTING IT DONE: Reread that part about an equally solid string of singles well into the 2000s. But you wouldn’t even need those, because Janet–Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty–codified exactly the sort of pop stardom that you’d guess from that aside: titanic confident, sexually assertive and flawlessly choreographed. We’d list the pop stars who’ve cited her as an influence, but you’d get just as close by looking at any given year’s top 10.
BEST DICTIONARY ENTRY SHE MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE DELIBERATELY INSPIRED: “Wardrobe malfunction,” noun, “the temporary failure of an item of clothing to do its job in covering a part of the body that it would be advisable to keep covered.” We’re going to assume you know what this refers to.
MOST IMPRESSIVE SEMI-FAVORABLE COMPARISONS TO FAMOUS ACTRESSES SHE’S EARNED: Two from The New York Times: Lana Turner and Meryl Streep, both for her performance as Jo in Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls (an adaptation of the Ntozake Shange play).