Janet Jackson cried as she returned to the stage for the first time since her father, Joe Jackson, died at the age of 89 after a battle with pancreatic cancer on June 27.
During her performance at the 2018 Essence Festival in New Orleans on Sunday, the 52-year-old singer shared an emotional tribute to her late father, admitting that she considered canceling the show.
“To be quite honest it was really hard for me. It’s always difficult when you lose a loved one. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to move forward, if I should cancel this festival or the entire tour,” she revealed to the crowd. “I talked to my brother and we started to speak about my father’s strength. He was very strong. Without his drive, his strength, we wouldn’t have this success. We’re a black family that came from Gary, Indiana, and we broke all kinds of records all over the globe. That’s truth.”
Janet continued, “My father was a great man. My brother asked me, ‘If he was here listening to this conversation, what do you think he would say to you?’ And I think my father would have said, ‘Janet, please. Finish what you’ve started. And I will be there with you every step of the way in your heart.’ So here I am.”
Pointing at the sky, Janet said, “I love you so much. This one’s for you.”
Launching into her song “Together Again,” the star told the crowd, “My father would want to celebrate his life. That’s what I’m going to do right now with all of you.”
Throughout the song, a montage of photos featuring Joe appeared on the screens.
Janet shared a video message to Instagram last Wednesday as she got ready to head back out on her State of the World Tour, days after her father was laid to rest in a private ceremony and funeral at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
“Hey you guys, it’s been a pretty rough week,” Janet said in the clip. “But we’re excited. I’m excited. We cannot wait to see you. It’s been way too long. I miss you guys way too much. I’m about to jump on this plane and start this tour. Like I said, I can’t wait to see you. I love you, I’ll see you soon.”
RELATED VIDEO: Paris Jackson Reveals Grandfather Joe’s Final Moments, Pays Tribute to ‘Legend That Started It All’
“Thank u for all your love and support. Means so much to me during this time,” she added in the post’s caption.
On Tuesday, Janet shared an old photo of herself and Joe, which she captioned with a purple heart.
Janet’s State of the World Tour resumes July 11 at the Austin360 Amphitheater in Austin, Texas.
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