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Survivor Janet’s comfort zone

Los Angeles, March 21 (Reuters): And the award for strength and endurance goes to... Janet Jackson.

The R&B singer, whose “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl last month sent shockwaves through the US, paid tribute to her special qualities on Saturday when she received a career achievement honour at the Soul Train Music Awards.

With her body safely ensconced in a white gown, the 37-year-old singer thanked her fans, without specifically mentioning the infamous fallout.

“You’ve been there for me during the good times as well as the bad, and you’ve lifted me up with your love. Your love and support has always been a great source of comfort, especially in these last few weeks.”

Her speech frequently punctuated by cheers of love and support from the audience, Jackson said she was “amazed” to have endured in showbusiness for 30 years.

“That endurance is my heritage, as a woman, and especially a black woman. I’m convinced that we black women possess a special, indestructible strength that allows us to not only get down but to get up, to get through and to get over.”

The onset of canned music prevented her from continuing at length, and she avoided reporters when she went backstage afterward — surrounded by a phalanx of bodyguards — to pose briefly for photographers.

Jackson’s prize — aka the Quincy Jones Award for outstanding career achievement (female) — comes ahead of the launch of her new album, Damita Jo, which is set for its US release on March 30, and internationally the day before.

The winner of the corresponding male prize was similarly controversial: R&B singer R. Kelly, who faces child pornography charges in his home state of Illinois. He, too, has a new album coming out, and also dodged reporters. Kelly also won a prize in the main competition with his Chocolate Factory CD being named best R&B/soul album by a male.

The big winner of the night was hip-hop duo OutKast, which received two prizes, R&B/soul/rap album of the year for its Grammy-winning opus Speakerboxxx/The Love Below and the video prize for its infectious dance anthem Hey Ya!

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