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E! Online’s Marc Malkin caught up with Janet Jackson for an exclusive one-on-one interview before she is to be honored at this year’s GLAAD Media Awards. Jackson spoke candidly about gay marriage, her life with boyfriend Jermaine Dupri, being called a “gay icon,” drag queens, gay rumors, losing friends to AIDS, marriage, Broadway and her upcoming tour.
If her boyfriend Jermaine ever came out as gay: “I'd be upset because I want to be with him. [Laughs.] It's so funny because I joke with him that it drives me crazy to be a girl sometimes, so in my next life I'm going to come back as a guy, and you're going to be my bitch. But if he liked guys I would be crushed because I would want to be with him.”
Janet drag queens do a better Janet than she does: “They really study you. They truly study you, but you know, they pour it on more, which I absolutely love. They give more than I do, and I love that. The first time I went to the Baton [Show Lounge] in Chicago and saw this show I was with some of my [female] dancers. Afterwards, I said to my dancers, ‘We've gotta pull up because these bitches are hitting it. They're giving so much femininity, and we look like boys on stage.’ The next night we had a show, and we were trying our hardest to ooze with that feminine touch.”
On her “girl crush” if she was gay: “I think I would pick Alicia Keys for sure. I think she's wonderful.”
Why women like herself along with Oprah Winfrey and Alicia Keys get targeted as gay: “Maybe because it's just that we're strong women. I don't know. Maybe they want to put something else behind it because of the strength. Like, you can't be a woman and be strong, and there has to be something else to it.”
On being labeled a legend and a gay icon: “I never thought of myself as that, and it never even ever crossed my mind when people started calling me icon and legend and all this other stuff. I remember I was over in Europe, and I called my boyfriend [music producer Jermaine Dupri] once because they had introduced me on a show as a legend, and I said, ‘You know they introduced me as 'the legendary Janet Jackson' and he said, ‘You are.’ [Laughs.] I never thought of that or looked at myself in that way, but I'll wear the title. I'll own it.”
On losing friends to AIDS: “I lost a lot of friends to AIDS and one who I absolutely adored so much. His name was Jose, and we worked a lot together in Europe. He would put these eyelashes on me that he would make from real hair. His sister would cut her hair so he could make these eyelashes. They were the most beautiful things. He was so much fun to be with. I had heard he was sick and he was passing, and it was just so sad. It's so sad.”
On being on Broadway: “That's always been a dream of mine. I would love to do a musical… I just want to do a musical that touches on everything—something that's funny and dramatic, but definitely a musical.”
For more on this interview and all your breaking news exclusives, log on to Marc Malkin on E! Online at www.eonline.com.