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?”
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.
“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.”