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Who’s in “Control” in Marriage: What We Can Learn From Janet Jackson’s Marital Woes



by TRN Staff Writer,

Twitter…IG…YouTube—It’s the story trending everywhere: “Janet Jackson and Billionaire Husband Split!” From the time the story broke over the weekend, news sites were trying to get a handle on one burning question…’what went wrong in the seemingly fairy tale union of an American superstar to the Qatari billionaire?’

The 50 year old Jackson and 41 year old Wissam Al Mana are used to headlines.  When the couple married about five years ago, it seemed Jackson had finally found true love…again.  The once divorced (or twice if you believe her father had her first marriage to James DeBarge annulled back when she was 18) singer seemed to fall into the trap that many wealthy, famous women and men are oft ensnared by…unlucky at love.  But when the singer announced her marriage to Al Mana, she seemed overjoyed to give up her career, fame and life she had worked so hard to build in order to assume her new role as Mrs. Al Mana.  When Jackson cut short her last tour to share with fans that she was expecting, everyone pretty much thought it was the next chapter in “happily ever after”.

Now, word that the woman who topped the charts at the beginning of her career with the war cry “Control”, lost all control in her marriage.  According to, the singer and new mom felt husband Al Mana was too controlling.  PageSix quotes sources close to Jackson as saying, “She [Jackson] thought he had become too controlling during the pregnancy and she had already allowed him to dictate her appearance and even the way she performed at concerts,” said the source, who works closely with the couple.”   The article goes on to say that “the “Rhythm Nation” singer gave in to included toning down her 2014 concert tour and wearing clothing that covered her body, instead of the skin-revealing outfits fans had grown to love.”  We just have to look at pictures of how Janet dressed before and after marriage to see evidence of truth in that last statement.









The PageSix story goes on to say that Jackson “also declined to do music videos that featured any bumping and grinding, trademarks of her work, the source said. It drove her crazy and she felt she was losing her fan base.” 

We’d like to believe that ‘love conquers all’, but merging two different countries, two different cultures and two different religious beliefs and all that’s inherent with each category is a lot of adjustment.  Jackson seemed to be giving it her best effort by agreeing to cover herself as the photos show…but throwing on a hijab only covers the physical head, not what we truly believe or think in that head.

As people react to the news, there seemed to be some Janet-bashing at the hands of a few male Youtubers who sound like Janet got what she deserved with this break up.  One YouTuber even commented that Jackson thought she was “marrying up” (his expression, not mine) because she was marrying outside of the Black race…though that just sounds like a lot of hate.

If there’s anything to be learned from Janet’s married life at this point is that even fairy tale endings require a lot of hard work.  Merging two separate beings into one life is never easy, but Jackson should have known that changing every thing you believe in and know about life for the sake of love is the stuff of love songs. In real life, marrying a man whose religion subscribes to a male dominance code that allows oppression of women may be biting off more than you can chew after a life of American culture where women have freedom.

Jackson’s marriage may still work out, especially since she now has a three-month son to consider.  But love should be a shared formula of subtracting/ adding from both partners and multiplying and merging into one brand new equation.  No doubt the thing that attracted Al Mana to Jackson was the same magnetism, sex appeal and talent that made her into a celebrity adored by fans around the world.  It’s sad the first thing he wanted to change was what attracted him to her in the first place.  Women and men need to ditch that Hollywood concept of finding another person “to complete them”. Go into marriage or any relationship knowing who you are…improving to be a better you is one thing, but changing everything about what makes you ‘you’ is a high price to pay for love.

What do you think….did Janet go into this marriage with her eyes closed? Or is she just the victim of modern times and her celebrity?



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