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Authors: Janet Jackson

True You

BOOK: True You

True You


Gallery Books
Karen Hunter Publishing
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
A Division of Suitt-Hunter Enterprises, LLC
1230 Avenue of the Americas
P.O. Box 632
New York, NY 10020
South Orange, NJ 07079

Copyright © 2011 by Black Doll, Inc.

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. Distributed by Gallery Books. For information address Gallery Books Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.

First Karen Hunter Publishing/Gallery Books hardcover edition February 2011

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Designed by Joy O’Meara

Manufactured in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Jackson, Janet

True you / Janet Jackson; with David Ritz.—1st Karen Hunter Publishing/ Pocket Books hardcover ed.

p. cm.

1. Jackson, Janet. 2. Singers—United States—Biography.

I. Ritz, David. II. Title.

ML420.J153A3 2011


[B]                                                      2010039261

ISBN 978-1-4165-8724-8
ISBN 978-1-4516-3604-8 (ebook)


Writing my first book was an adventure, and each acknowledgment comes from my heart with love.

To my fans, because sharing your stories with me in person, in letters, and on-line gave me the courage to tell my own. So many of you taught me that you needed to be heard. I hope you recognize your voices and that you realize I understand, I care, and I love you. Thank you for loving me, no matter what.

David Ritz, my co-author, we’ve been talking about doing something for years. We finally made it happen and I am grateful to you. Karen Hunter, for passion and patience.

My nutritionist, David Allen. Chef Andre of A Café and Chris Strong, both from Kathy Ireland Worldwide, for recipes and tasty food. These recipes are real. We enjoyed them over and over again.

Thank you to Mother and my entire family.

I give thanks to Jesus Christ, who leads me and protects me every day.

My jdj Entertainment management team, Jaime Mendoza, Jessica Davenport because you’re always there, and Terri Harris because you’re you. Joey Maldonado, Lucy Reyes. My Sterling Winters Company management team, Jason Winters, my godfather, Erik Sterling, Stephen Roseberry, Jon Carrasco.

“Grant,” Lynnette Bowers, and everyone at Grant, Tani, Barash, and Altman. Tom Hoberman, Seth Lichtenstein, and Adam Kaller at Hansen, Hoberman, Jacobson and Klein. John Marx, Charles King, Ari Emmanuel, and everyone at WME.

Fran Cooper, Robert Behar, Janet Zeitoun for trying to keep it a little bit cute. Gil Duldulao for dances, dreams, and friendship.

Tony Martinez for making me laugh, while making me sweat myself into shape. Everyone can’t have the luxury of a fitness genius to train them. I’m so fortunate to have you and I would not have been able to write this book without you. I want to share your gifts with the world.

My musicians, dancers, singers, and entire tech concert crew.

To Simon & Schuster and Karen Hunter Publishing (Charles Suitt and Karen Hunter) for publishing this book.

This is not an autobiography. It’s a journey that I am still taking to love and to accept myself just as I am. I want you to walk this road with me. You can never be happy until you understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. If this book helps people find those answers, it has succeeded.

Finally, this is for you, you know who you are and you know why I love you. I’m glad we waited for what we have now.



Follow Janet at
, Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace.


David Ritz would like to thank: Janet, a beautiful artist & forever friend, David Vigliano, Jaime Mendoza, Jason Winters, Stephen Roseberry, Karen Hunter, Charles Suitt, David Kokakis, David Peak, Ruth Ondarza, my wonderful wife Roberta, Pops, Elizabeth, Esther, Jessica, Alison, Henry, Jim, Charlotte, Nino, James, Isaac, all the family, plus true blue pals Alan Eisenstock, Harry Weinger and all the Tuesday morning cats.

To Mike


Breaking Free

“As Pretty as...”

Hold Back the Tears

“I’ll Just Starve Myself”

“Smile, though your heart is aching”

God and Dogs

Good Times



All Right

“Young Love”



Start Anew


Rhythm Nation

My Velvet Rope

Soul Support

Loving My Life Today

Meet David Allen, My Nutritionist

Afterword by David Allen



True You

At home after a day of shooting
For Colored Girls

Breaking Free

n 1977, at age ten, I was cast on the TV sitcom
Good Times
. My character was Penny, an abused child in desperate need of love. I really didn’t want to do the show. I didn’t want to be away from my family. And being on television only added to my negative feelings about my body.

Before production began, I was told two things: I was fat and needed to slim down, and because I was beginning to develop, I needed to bind my breasts. In both cases the message was devastating—my body was wrong. The message was also clear—to be successful, I had to change the way I looked.

I didn’t even know what it meant to “bind my breasts.” At first I was frightened. Were they talking about some kind of operation? For a girl so young, this was confusing. Naturally, I kept the confusion to myself.

“It means we need to tie down your breasts so you appear flat-chested,” the wardrobe woman explained.

So, each day of shooting, I went through the ordeal of having wide strips of gauze tied across my chest to hide the natural shape of my breasts. It was uncomfortable and humiliating.

I never discussed this with anyone. Never said a word to my parents, sisters, or brothers. I kept it all hidden inside. I didn’t know what to do with my feelings of fear and embarrassment. So I hid them. I was ashamed of them. After all, I was an actress, and my job was to please others—writers, directors, and producers—and to entertain the audience. There was no room for personal confusion.

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