Music icon Janet Jackson is slaying the July/August edition of Essence magazine. In “The Happiness issue,” the Essence Festival headliner penned a heartfelt letter to readers, revealing how she managed to overcome an "intense" battle with depression in her thirties.

In late May, Jackson received the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards, becoming the first Black woman ever to receive the honor. Her third studio album, Control, solidified her as a breakout star and helped her escape the shadow of her superstar brother, Michael. It wasn't long before Jackson amassed a long string of hits, including "Nasty," "Miss You Much," "Rhythm Nation," and "That's The Way Love Goes." However, the legendary pop singer admits that feelings of inferiority haunted her despite achieving massive success.

“These were difficult years, when I struggled with depression. The struggle was intense. I could analyze the source of my depression forever. Low self-esteem might be rooted in childhood feelings of inferiority. It could relate to failing to meet impossibly high standards. And of course there are always the societal issues of racism and sexism. Put it all together and depression is a tenacious and scary condition. Thankfully, I found my way through it…”

Now, at 52, the multi-platinum selling artist says she has found true happiness in knowing God, maintaining positive friendships and experiencing the joys of motherhood for the first time at age 50. She gave birth to her son, Eissa in January of 2017.

“The height of happiness is holding my baby son in my arms and hearing him coo, or when I look into his smiling eyes and watch him respond to my tenderness. When I kiss him. When I sing him softly to sleep. During those sacred times, happiness is everywhere. Happiness is in gratitude to God. Happiness is saying, ‘Thank you, God, for my life, my energy and my capacity to grow in love.’ ”

You can pick up the July/August issue of Essence beginning Friday, June 22. Ms. Janet is set to headline the 2018 Essence Festival on July 8 in New Orleans. Will you be there?

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