Grammy-winning performer Janet Jackson struck a somber note as she expressed her gratitude at an awards ceremony Saturday night honoring her humanitarian work for several AIDS-related charities. It was her first public appearance since older brother Michael Jackson was acquitted of child molestation charges on June 13.
After a joking introduction by actor Alan Cumming, Jackson apologized for her own lack of humor, according to AP reports. She said, “My family and I have just gone through the least humorous chapter of our lives. I’m going to leave the jokes to the late-night (comics), if that’s OK.”
No stranger to controversy herself after the 2004 “Nipplegate” controversy at the Super Bowl, Janet added: “What I’ve learned in these recent months is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s real, it’s a beautiful light that both comforts our minds and strengthens our souls. Tonight my heart is filled with gratitude for that light. I’m so grateful that prayers are answered, that faith is rewarded and tolerance is celebrated as a virtue. I’m grateful that God is of unconditional love.”
Jackson received a standing ovation at the fundraiser, held June 18 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. She was honored for the millions of dollars she has both raised and donated for humanitarian causes, including the American Foundation for AIDS Research, the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation.
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