Many Never Knew Janet Wrote “What Have U Done For Me Lately” About A Known Celebrity

Posted On : November 4, 2018

Janet Jackson’s producer, Jimmy Jam (of the hit-making production duo, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis) revealed in an interview with BBC, that Janet Jackson’s 1986 jam, “What Have You Done for me Lately” was actually written about an old School celeb’ back in the day. If you’re from the Old School you know this brotha very well. He is the one and only…[drumroll please!]…

Her Legendary First Husband

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James DeBarge of the 80’s R&B group, DeBarge, also known as Janet’s ex-husband! Janet was married to him at the time if “What Have You Done For Me Lately’s” production. Like we said earlier, Jimmy Jam let the cat out of the bag on this one. When he and Terry Lewis were working on Janet’s album, “Control,” this song was created to document the turmoil Janet’s and James’ marriage.

Here’s what Jimmy Jam said:

“Originally, What Have You Done For Me Lately was going to be a track on an album Terry and I were working on – our own album. The rest of the Control album was totally done but [record label executive] John McClain said: ‘Hey guys, I just need one more song.’

The lyric came up because of a relationship Janet had gotten out of [her marriage to soul singer James DeBarge, which was annulled a year earlier]. The concept was basically, ‘he used to do nice things for you, but what has he done for you lately?’ “

Who would’ve thunk it?!! Now that we know this, it all makes sense – Janet has repeatedly talked about the fact that she is an “emotional eater,” who tends to eat a lot of junk food when she’s stressed about something going on in her life, resulting in weight gain (although she still looked great in my humble opinion). Not only did we see her experience a little weight gain during the era of her “Control” album, during which she had just gone through the divorce with James, we also saw this same weight pattern for her role on Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too, which was filmed shortly after the death of her big brother, Michael Jackson. In both instances, she did a phenomenal job using her craft and creating powerful performances.

She’s In “Control” Of Her Life Again…After Wissam

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These days, Janet is out here living the single life like Cameo and enjoying raising her lil’ man, Eissa.

Apparently, she’s done with the days of letting men run her life, which is what many assumed was happening during her short-lived marriage to her soon-to-be-ex-husband, Wissam Al Mana. Why did people think that? Because of Janet’s wardrobe choices, which had suddenly become far more toned down after gettin’ with Wissam. It’s been suspected that was Janet’s way of respecting his Islamic religion.

On the flip side, not every women in her late 40’s, or early 50’s, wants to still dress like she’s 20 (*coughs* Madonna).’  So yeah, maybe Janet was respecting Wissam’s religion, but she also could have  simply been rockin’ her new grown woman style by choice. Either way, that woman is fine at 52 and she could be dressed in a potato sack for all I care…she will always be sexy Janet to me! Keep showing these youngins how it’s done Ms. Jackson and if they got something to say about it, just ask ’em: “What have you done for me lately?” Nuff said.