Janet Jackson’s Dungeon Master Chic

Why it’s still as vital and revolutionary as ever

Janet Jackson

Sure, Madonna repeatedly toyed with BDSM in her videos, but she never publicly admitted to breast and genital piercings like Miss Jackson did. So, in case you weren’t tipped off from the Velvet Rope tour onwards, Janet’s innocuous Dream Street ingenue had to die so a baby dominatrix could be born—one with enough foot-stomping power and petulance to bend bossy parents, nasty boys, and the pleasure principle itself to her indomitable will. Now, seven studio albums later, Discipline reiterates the premise of Control, but as its fully mature apotheosis. Back in 1986, her stylized defiance always sounded a little playful, like a Sesame Street routine. But 2008’s Dungeon Master Janet delivers id-riddled pop-funk that’s as serious as a heart attack and marks a truly impressive transformation. It’s not every day that an NAACP Image Award winner outs herself as a genuinely kinky girl who believes that hard work and focus turn pain into pleasure. Continue reading “Janet Jackson’s Dungeon Master Chic”

Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart Turns 50 This Year

On the eve of his PEN American Center celebration, the Nigerian author sits down with the Voice

At Town Hall on February 26, the PEN American Center will host a star-studded tribute to Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. This literary gala, co-sponsored by Anchor Books and Bard College, will gather fellow luminaries like Toni Morrison, Ha Jin, and Colum McCann to honor the 78-year-old polymath, who remains one of African fiction’s most authentic and prophetic voices. Continue reading “Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart Turns 50 This Year”