Janet Jackson is no stranger to double standards. In 2004, when Justin Timberlake ripped off her top on stage during their joint Super Bowl halftime performance, Timberlake got to walk away unscathed while Jackson’s career was all but razed to the ground.
At last night’s Global Citizen Festival, Janet Jackson finally addressed the fallout from the event and used her own experience to call for better treatment of women.
“I know about bullying. I know about verbal abuse. I know about physical abuse. I know about abuse of authority,” she said. “I’m sick, I’m repulsed, I’m infuriated by the double standards that continue to treat women as second-class citizens.”
Jackson wasn’t alone. Throughout the night, the whole festival set a defiant, united tone for women, especially those who are survivors of assault.
At one moment, Dakota Johnson shared a phone number for women and girls to speak out about injustices they’ve faced.
"This is my phone number: (212) 653-8806. I want you to call me and I want you to tell me your story in a voicemail," Johnson said. "Or I want you to send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and I want you to tell me what you've gone through as a women or girl in the world that's been suffering."
Janelle Monáe also showed support for survivors, telling survivors of assault, “I hear you, I see you,” and dedicating her performance to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Anita Hill, and “anyone who is trying to make this place a better world."
In many ways, the festival could be seen as a call to action for women — which may have been expressed most clearly by Jackson.
“Enough injustice, bigotry, mistreatment, and mindless prejudice,” she said. “Equality is our demand. Action is our answer.”
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.