Janet Jackson gave a loving tribute to her father Joe Jackson Sunday during her first concert since his death on June 27. He was 89.
“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,” the 52-year-old singer shared with the crowd at the 2018 Essence Festival in New Orleans, according to People magazine Monday.
“I talked to my brother and we started to speak about my father’s strength,” she added. “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.”
“My father was a great man,” the singer continued. “And my brother he 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.”
She then looked up at the sky and pointed her finger towards the stars before launching into “Together Again.” She said, “I love you so much. This one’s for you.”
“My father would want to celebrate his life,” she added. “That’s what I’m going to do right now with all of you.”
Jackson, the father of 11 children, including famous singers Janet and Michael Jackson, had spent time in the hospital the last few weeks before his death to deal with terminal pancreatic cancer.