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How Janet Jackson's 1997 "Got Till It's Gone" was a Groundbreaking Moment in Pop Culture

In 1997, Janet Jackson and director Mark Romanek re-created an apartheid-era South African lounge in this jubilantpaean to Afrocentricity where music, dance and art collided.

As one of the most influential music videos of all time, Jackson’s “Got Till it’s gone” was heavily inspired by the work of black photographers, including Malick Sidibe, Seydou Keita, and Samuel Fosso who captured the vibrant and diverse culture of their countries in the 1960s and 1970s.

The video features iconic scenes such as a group of women dancing in a club, which is a direct homage to Seydou Keita's "Untitled (Three Girls)" taken in 1950. The scene where a man is shot with a magazine with a white hat replicates Malick Sidibe's Un Yé-yé en position,1963; whilst the scene of Janet and her dancers sitting in a car is reminiscent of Samuel Fosso's "The Chief: He Who Sold Africa to the Colonialists" taken in 1997.

Images: Malick Sidibé - Un Yé Yé en position, 1963 & Scene from Janet Jackson's Got till its Gone

Janet Jackson is one of the most successful and influential musicians of all time, with a career spanning over four decades and a reputation rooted in advocating for innovative and socially conscious music. Jackson is also a supporter of various causes and charities, such as UNICEF, Amnesty International and the NAACP. She used her platform to amplify the voices of underrepresented communities, which was especially important in the 90s when black artists were often marginalized in the music industry.

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How Janet Jackson's 1997 "Got Till It's Gone" was a Groundbreaking Moment in Pop Culture

May 24, 2023

Art Report Africa

1 min read