Janet Jackson was
in no mood for jokes when she received a humanitarian
award from a gay rights group. Jackson apologized for her
lack of humor in her first public appearance since
brother Michael Jackson's acquittal on child
"My family and I have just gone through the
least humorous chapter of our lives," she explained in
accepting the award Saturday night from the Human
Rights Campaign. "I'm going to leave the jokes to the
late-night [comics], if that's OK." Michael Jackson was
acquitted June 13 following a four-month trial on
charges that he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor
at his Neverland ranch in 2003.
"What I've learned in these recent months is
that there is a light at the end of the tunnel," Janet
Jackson said. "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 was honored for the millions of dollars
she has both raised and donated for humanitarian
causes, notably the American Foundation for AIDS
Research, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and the Children
Affected by AIDS Foundation. She received a standing
ovation from the hundreds of $250-$375-a-plate
contributors who crammed the Beverly Hilton Hotel
ballroom. Jackson told the crowd, "Acceptance is right.
Kindness is right. Love is right. I pray, right now,
that we're moving into a kinder time when prejudice is
overcome by understanding; when narrow-mindedness, and
narrow-minded bigotry, is overwhelmed by openhearted
empathy; when the pain of judgmentalism is replaced by
the purity of love." (AP)