Janet Jackson drew concern from fans by breaking down in tears for a moment onstage at her concert in Houston Saturday.
It marked a rare emotional moment during an otherwise joyful and high-energy show, her second as part of her newly renamed State of the World tour, which began two days prior and followed her maternity leave. The 51-year-old pop star gave birth to her first child, son Eissa, more than nine months ago. She is currently in the process of divorcing his father, Wissam Al Mana, her husband of five years. The two had been together since 2010.
Onstage at the Toyota Center in Houston, Jackson paused after performing her 1997 song "What About," a new addition to her setlist, covered her face with one hand, bent over and sobbed for a few seconds. She then stood and said, "This is me."
The song is about domestic violence. Sample lyrics include, "What about all the s--t you've done to me? / What about the times you hit my face? / What about the times you kept on when I said no more, please?"
@JanetJackson I wanted to hold you when you cried last night during What About. It breaks my heart to see you cry. Very powerful performance— NuyoRican29 (@NuyoRican29_LTL) September 10, 2017
Jackson had also appeared emotional after performing the song at her first concert stop in Lafayette, Louisiana on Thursday but seemed to recover quicker.
Janet crying at the end of "What About" a song about a domestic abuse and cheating and emotionally says "This Is Me!" pic.twitter.com/LV06a36qaN— kay? (@noguava) September 8, 2017
She did not perform "What About" at the concerts she gave before her maternity hiatus. Until her show in Louisiana Thursday, Jackson last performed the song live in 1999.
Jackson arrived in Houston Friday, a day before her concert, and met with Hurricane Harvey victims.
"She brought smiles and hugs," an eyewitness told E! News. "She seemed very touched seeing all these people sleeping on cots and her dancers were also very moved."