How Madonna Reacted When Janet Jackson Said She Didn’t Have Class

Madonna and Janet Jackson are both major celebrities and sex symbols however, they haven’t always said kind things about each other. Jackson was extremely dismissive of Madonna’s work in an interview. Years, later Madonna fired back with an unsubtle jab at Jackson’s extremely controversial Super Bowl performance. Here’s a look at the back and forth between the two divas — and who emerged victorious on the pop charts.

Madonna on a couch
Madonna | Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images

How Janet Jackson reacted to the Madonna comparisons

Because of their lavish music videos, complex choreography, and provocative images, comparisons between Jackson and the Queen of Pop are inevitable. So how did Janet react to them? According to Queerty, she said “It’s dance music, I’ll say that, which is very similar. I think… How do I put this? I think what I do has class to it. I’ll say that.” It’s interesting Jackson implied that the Queen of Pop lacked class when both of their images were similar.

Jackson’s comments were inflammatory. So how did Madonna respond to them. While the Queen of Pop is known for stoking controversy, her reaction to Jackson’s words was relatively low-key, especially considering how the Queen of Pop has often had very public feuds with artists like Elton John and Lady Gaga. She admitted she didn’t know why Jackson ”dissed” her and described Jackson’s comments as “ominous.” The Queen of Pop said she was “mystified,” revealing she didn’t know Jackson or anyone in her social circle. She wondered if Jackson might someday tell her what prompted her to diss her.

“Holiday”

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Madonna weighed in on Janet Jackson’s controversial Super Bowl performance with Justin Timberlake

While Madonna was relatively cordial to Jackson at one point, Jackson’s Super Bowl performance changed that. For some background, Jackson performed at the Super Bowl with Justin Timberlake and Timberlake infamously exposed Jackson’s breast, revealing she was wearing a nipple shield. The incident was hugely controversial and changed the Super Bowl halftime show for some time. For years following the controversy, many refrained from being too risque during the show.

When the NFL announced Madonna was going to perform at the halftime show, it seemed like a change of pace given her provocative image. According to Ebony, Madonna was asked about her plans for her performance. “I have not mainstreamed and I’m not planning anything naughty. I’m planning something super entertaining,” she revealed. She added “You don’t have to show nipples to be interesting or and it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re cutting edge if you do right?” Her words were a clear jab at Jackson.

“Nasty”

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Which artists was more successful on the pop charts?

This raises an interesting question: Did Madonna or Jackson perform better on the American charts? Madonna released 38 top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Of these hits, 12 reached No. 1. On the other hand, Jackson released 27 top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Of these, 10 reached No 1. Jackson is clearly a hugely successful musician, but the Queen of Pop has outperformed her commercially.