Artists from the 808 help make Janet Jackson’s ‘Unbreakable’ tour a success

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Janet Jackson is performing her third and final show in Hawaii Sunday night. She performed for nearly two hours on Thursday and Friday at the Blaisdell Arena.

And behind the scenes of Jackson’s “Unbreakable” tour, four of her core team members are from Oahu. They are creative director and choreographer Gil Duldulao, assistant choreographer Whyley Yoshimura, makeup artist Preston Meneses and tour hair stylist Cassidy “Cassandra” Unciano.

Now working and living out of Los Angeles, they all say they are happy to be back home, even if it’s just for a little while, and they had some great advice for people looking to break into the industry.

Duldulao grew up in Kalihi and has been working with Janet Jackson for 20 years. “It’s amazing,” he said. “She is like family to me. She is such a sweet, loving, kind, creative genius.”

Kamehameha Schools graduate Yoshimura from Mililani started out dancing for Jackson when he was 18.

“I’ve grown to know her better, and she always has been the same though,” he said. “From the get-go, she treats all her dancers very well. She is one of the most giving artists and one of the best bosses. It’s weird to call her a boss, because she doesn’t act like a boss.”

Meneses and Unciano are part of Jackson’s glam squad. Maneses is from Waipahu and has been doing Jackson’s makeup for nearly 10 years, and Unciano grew up in Kalihi Valley.

“Just dream, honey,” Meneses said. “You can do it all if you can see it in your head. It can come true.”

Unciano said “she is so cool. She makes us feel comfortable, act normal and be ourselves. Once in a while, I still get the ‘OMG, this is JJ!'”

Duldulao is the one responsible from bringing the 808 team together. “If I see talent, pure talent, even if it’s from Hawaii,” he said. “We have so many talented dancers and talented artists in Hawaii who move to L.A., I’m going to put my time and love into someone.

“I would just like to give back and thanks to my mentors here, Marcelo Pacleb, Mara Bacon, Pam Sandridge and Jared Ake. They are very imporatant people in my life and I wouldn’t be here today without them.”

After Sunday, Janet Jackson’s “Unbreakable” tour continues to travel west to Osaka, Japan.

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