Fans may have swooned at Janet Jackson's concert Thursday in Tampa, but the singer herself was blown away by one gift tossed onstage, a T-shirt emblazoned with the names "Penny, Charlene, Cleo, Justice."
Obscure, to be sure, but Jackson die-hards know those are names of characters the 49-year-old superstar has portrayed in roles on film and television.
The T-shirt was lovingly created by two gay men, visual artist and designer Chad Mize who lives in nearby St. Petersburg, and photographer Ryan Prado, who is originally from Tampa but now lives in New York City. The friends mimicked one of Mize's popular logo designs to make a few special Jackson shirts for themselves, as well as one they'd try to hand deliver to the singer during her performance at Amalie Arena.
That honor went to Prado, seen above with partner Adam R. Deremer (left). Prado calls himself a Jackson superfan. He returned to Florida this week to catch two of the singer's concerts. (All told, Prado has tickets to six shows on the Unbreakable tour. On past tours he's seen as many as 12.)
On Thursday, Prado had front row center seats, which allowed him to toss the T-shirt right onstage.
"I didn't know if she'd look at it because so many people throw things onstage," Prado says. "But then she picked it up and turned it around to to read it. I could see it register on her face and she started smiling," Prado said.
"I jumped up and down to show her I was wearing the same shirt."
It was a moment Prado says he'll never forget. "It was incredible. She's just my absolute, all-time favorite. No one even comes close to touching her."
Mize wasn't at Thursday's concert -- he's seeing Jackson next month in San Francisco -- and says he's still marveling over photos of Jackson beaming while holding the shirt.
"It's an amazing feeling," Mize says. "You grow up admiring someone and loving their music, and then to know you made them happy -- it's just surreal."
The design has now been made available for order on Mize's web site. To see more of Jackson's reaction to the shirt, see Prado's Instagram.