At the 2018 Billboard Music Awards Sunday night, Janet Jackson received the Billboard Icon Award for her lifetime achievements in the industry and subsequently performed. According to Vibe, while matriarch Katherine, sibling Rebbie, and nephew Prince Jackson were in attendance to celebrate her, Janet’s socialite niece, Paris Jackson, was sorely absent. In the wake of negative gossip and unwelcome speculation, the King of Pop’s daughter released a statement via Instagram Stories to set the record straight.
While Paris shared her cousin Austin Brown’s Instagram post celebrating Janet, by adding “Ditto” to Austin’s congratulatory post, it seems like there has been some inner Jackson family tension after all—which Paris made sure to address directly, albeit somewhat cryptically. Of course, that is her right, and essentially the entire point of her following statement.
“Dear social media followers, friends, stalkers, lovers and haters, and fellow moonwalkers: Please do not tell me/demand/try to control how I handle my relationship with the people in my life, specifically my family,” Paris wrote. “As amazing and as shitty as things can be, it is no one’s business but ours. I understand that some of you feel some sort of connection or need to be apart (sic) of our lives considering you watched us grow up. However, I am handling my situation exactly how my father did. And I am happy keeping it that way. I will always have love and respect for my family. ALWAYS.”
Paris continued by explaining that whatever may be happening privately within the family, it isn’t any different from the standard family struggles we all experience—and that it’s merely the spotlight of fame that builds narratives and keeps the momentum steady. “Every family has their moments of trauma, heartbreak, separation, love, oneness, tribe, pain, everything. EVERY FAMILY,” she wrote. “My family, specifically, and a good number of others…well, our drama is broadcasted worldwide through media. But that doesn’t mean our family issues are any different from yours. Ours are just made public.”
In case you missed it, here’s a little taste of Janet’s incredible performance—which had her do the Awkwaaba dance—and the subsequent speech after being handed the Billboard Icon Award by Bruno Mars.
“We live at a glorious moment in history,” she said. “It’s a moment when at along last women have made it clear that we will no longer be controlled, manipulated, or abused. I stand with those women, and with those men equally outraged by discrimination, who support us, in heart and mind. This is also a moment when our public discourse is loud and harsh. My prayer is that, weary of such noise, we turn back to the source of all calmness. That source, that source is God.”