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Janet Jackson, Harper's Bazaar, Cover

Tom Munro for Haper's Bazaar

Janet Jackson is all smiles on the October cover of Harper's Bazaar, but inside she speaks out about losing her older brother and what he meant to her.

"You have to forgive me, because it's really hard to believe he's passed," she says while recounting her favorite memories of her late brother.

Among the things she remembers most fondly is his warm sense of humor.

"He loved to laugh...Sometimes his humor would be corny, sometimes dry. He loved the Three Stooges, he loved slapstick, he loved Eddie Murphy in his silly comedies. He loved to have fun. He loved to play."

This playfulness was in full effect the last time Janet saw Michael, a couple of days before her 43rd birthday on May 14.

"We had so much fun that day," she remembers. "We kept calling each other after and saying how great it was."

And then there are her thoughts on what she hopes Michael's ultimate legacy will be:

"It's so beyond. I can't even begin. It's on so many different levels. Bringing light and love and happiness. He's just got so much love, and so much heart, and so much power through his music. Children and his love for children. People have told me, 'I am an American citizen because of your brother.' He wrote them a letter or something. He was just that giving, loving person. And the greatest entertainer there ever was. And is. I hope people get a glimpse of him now, some sort of picture."

Mourning Michael in the spotlight has caused Janet to throw herself into work—"Work helps focus all of that energy on something that is of value to you"—and avoid TV.

"It will drive you crazy," she says of the media. "People can have rhinoceros skin, but there's a point when something's going to hurt you. Not everyone is stone, stone. I haven't watched the news in weeks. I had to ask my chef, 'How's Obama doing?' I haven't read a newspaper."

It's not all bad, though. Janet has managed to find something positive to take away from the experience:

"Now at least I know that I can step up to the plate and not crumble when I'm needed. When it comes to something like this that is so, so serious, so painful, so traumatic, I can handle it."


Everyone can remember the King of Pop in our tribute gallery.