Virtual ‘Realities’ in The Velvet Rope

Janet Jackson records image

Ayanna Dozier on Janet Jackson, cyber culture, and more. Technophilia and Technophobia were the rage in the late 1990s. As the approaching new millennia loomed on the horizon, society was facing a technological expansion hitherto experienced before. The internet transformed not only our communicative habits but our awareness of space and time itself, producing what scholar John B. Thompson writes as a space-time distanciation (Thompson 1995). This concept refers to how time, regardless of geographic location, now feels as if it operates on a global simultaneity; we feel like we…

Quite the Scandal: The Velvet Rope Tour Poster

Ayanna Dozier on a tour poster that sparked sexist backlash During early press for The Velvet Rope, Janet emphasized that a tour would follow the album, leaving the public to anticipate a cornucopia of images and media text that would extend the listener’s experience with the album. While the press were on alert for the tour dates and the promotional images to follow, nothing could have prepared them for the official poster to announce the Spring 1998 tour. The image was shot by her then husband, René Elizondo Jr. for…

Sex Before and After The Velvet Rope on janet. and All for You

Ayanna Dozier on Janet Jackson and Black women’s sexuality In the infamous Rolling Stone interview that accompanied the promotion of 1993 album, janet., Janet got “real” about sex. In conversation with interviewer David Ritz, Janet discussed the confusion that some of her fans might have about the way in which she addresses her sexual liberation on that album, especially as this was the same woman who infamously suggested “to wait awhile, before we go too far.” She states in that interview that at the age of twenty-seven the album was…

Why I Wrote About Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope

Ayanna Dozier on what The Velvet Rope says about power, sexual fluidity, and respectability politics The Velvet Rope has been with me since its release nearly twenty-three years ago in October of 1997. For most of that time, I had no intention to write about my admiration for the album. It was simply a record that I would fervently remind colleagues and friends of as time passed. But as time passed, I bore witness to the changes in Janet’s career. In the 1990s through the early 2000s, Janet was the…

Announcement: New 33 1/3 books + upcoming author take-over!

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Grab your headphones and your reading glasses and settle into your favorite cushy chair, because today marks the publication of 3 new 33 1/3 titles—Suicides’s Suicide, Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope, and Various Artists’ I’m Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen.

Playlist: Back-to-School in 2020

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Our own version of a 2020 playlist with a back-to-school twist! Whether you’re online or on campus, you’ll enjoy this mix of music while studying, planning or taking a well-deserved break. Follow our playlist on Spotify or check out this compiled list, and be sure to click the links below to learn more about each artist and order your own 33 1/3.

Video Vault: D’Angelo, “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”

Photo of D’Angelo from his music video Untitled

Inspired by our interview on D’Angelo’s Voodoo with Faith Pennick, it’s time to take a closer look at his infamous music video. The video’s featured song “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”won a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 2001 and was named Rolling Stone’s fourth best single of 2000. There’s no denying the deep emotion that D’Angelo can’t contain when he croons this particular song, but I think we can all agree that it was the release of the music video that added new sexy, passionate, breathtaking layers and made his desire come alive.

Celebrating The Raincoats + New Podcast Episode!

The Raincoats’ The Raincoats album cover image

Last week marked the end of a particularly eventful Pride month, but that doesn’t mean the conversations, or celebrations, have to end. Today we are highlighting one of our favorite queer-rebellious-feminist-punk bands of all time: The Raincoats. That’s right, you can now listen to our newest episode of the Bloomsbury Academic Podcast, where we talk to 33 1/3 author Jenn Pelly about this spontaneous and captivating all-female group and the unapologetic music they created.

Pride and Pop’s Queen Mom

Matthew Restall, on the story of Elton’s coming out. Elton John has famously described himself as “the most famous poof in the world.” In Pride Month, as millions celebrate being out, who better to read about and listen to than the Queen Mom of Pop (as the British press have dubbed Sir Elton)? Actually, this year, as some Pride parades merge with BLM marches, many of us will be reflecting on the significance of present-day pioneers like Frank Ocean and Lil Nas X; or on the experiences of gay black…

An Abbreviated Judy Garland Bibliography

Manuel Betancourt, on the movies, books, and films that shaped Judy Garland’s Judy at Carnegie Hall For months on end all I read (and watched and thought about) was Judy Garland. I had no shortage of books and movies and interviews and magazine profiles and blog posts and zines and websites to choose from. I knew I could never read everything I needed, but that didn’t mean I didn’t try.  Judy at Carnegie Hall benefited immensely from the many talented writers (and filmmakers and actors and critics) who’ve spent years…