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Wednesday, 3 January, 2001, 09:05 GMT
US music salutes Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson
Jackson: "Critically acclaimed and socially conscious"
Pop star Janet Jackson is to be honoured with the prestigious Award of Merit at next week's American Music Awards.

The singer, who has sold more than 40 million recordings, will be the 28th person to receive the award for "outstanding contributions to the musical entertainment of the American public".

Previous recipients include Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Irving Berlin, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, her brother Michael and Whitney Houston.

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley previously received the same award
Jackson has been singled out because of her "finely crafted, critically acclaimed and socially conscious, multi-platinum albums ... and her spectacular performances on music videos, television and worldwide concerts".

The youngest child of the Jackson family, she began performing with her brothers aged seven.

A few years later she began acting and in 1982 she released her first album, Janet Jackson, followed by Dream Street in 1984.

Her rise to fame was consolidated with 1985's Control, which was her first partnering with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

Lawsuit

The star's follow-up to 1997's Velvet Rope is expected this summer, but it currently remains untitled.

Performers at this year's awards, being held on 8 January, will include Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, and Britney Spears, who is also the night's host.

Jackson also hit headlines this week when her estranged husband has filed a lawsuit against her, saying she broke a promise to share property acquired before their 1991 marriage.

Rene Elizondo Jr alleged that she agreed in 1987 to split the proceeds from her 1989 album Rhythm Nation 1814, as well as other assets.

He filed the lawsuit on Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court for damages of more than $10m (7m).

See also:

02 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Jackson's ex files 7m lawsuit
15 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Janet goes nuts for Hollywood
01 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Jackson's secret marriage ends
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