Janet Jackson explains why the TMT protest is part of her Hawaii concerts

Connection to the culture, pop star Janet Jackson stands with Mauna Kea protesters

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Janet Jackson’s latest round of Hawaii concerts features a moment where she and her dancers flash the two-handed sign used by protesters against the Thirty Meter Telescope at Mauna Kea.

She hasn’t made an actual statement during the performance, when photos of the protesters are also shown on a large screen over the stage. But she said she was compelled to do it.

“To be able to want to take this land -- this sacred land -- it’s wrong. It’s not right at all,” she told Hawaii News Now. “I stand with them.”

Jackson explained her motivation came from Hawaii dancers who have performed with her.

“There are a few Hawaiians that have been in my camp for a while, for a good while. More than 15 years. And they explained to me the situation, and I was floored.”

Some of Jackson’s dancers have worked with 24-VII Dance Force, based in Kaneohe. She had a night off Friday from her concert series in Honolulu, and made a surprise appearance at one of their classes at the Stan Sheriff Center at UH-Manoa. She was impressed with what she saw.

“There’s so many good kids. If they keep studying, they’re going to be incredible," said Jackson.

“I met one girl, with rust-colored pants. Really good. Really good dancer.”

She has one more concert at the Neal Blaisdell Center arena Saturday night.

The protests against TMT are still not far from her mind while she’s here. She said she would love to visit the protesters camp if she could.

"They need to find another place, somewhere else. They really do. It’s wrong.

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