Janet Jackson Opens Up About Her Father's Death During First Performance: 'It Was Really Hard For Me'

Donald Traill/Invision/AP
Janet Jackson performs at the 2018 Essence Festival at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 8, 2018 in New Orleans.

Janet Jackson made her return to the stage at Essence Fest in New Orleans on Sunday (July 8). During her set, Jackson gave an emotional and heartfelt speech about the passing of her father Joe Jackson and explained why she decided to perform.

Janet's father passed away on June 27 from cancer, leaving his family and many people in the music community devastated. 

"It was really hard for me," Janet expressed to the crowd. "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." Fighting back tears, she revealed that a conversation with one of her brothers gave her the motivation to continue.

During the conversation with her brother, the siblings talked about her father's strength. "He was so strong, and without his drive, his strength...we wouldn't have this success. We are a black family that came from Indiana and we broke all kinds of records around the globe. That's truth," Jackson said. Her brother then asked her what she thinks their father would tell her to do, which is when she realize that he would tell her to "finish what [she'd] started."

Watch Janet's speech below.