While we’re all for driving the #JusticeForJanet train, let’s take a moment to consider the facts.
To be clear, Janet did take the brunt of the blame for Nipplegate but Justin Timberlake isn’t necessarily the one who dished out the double-scoop of racism and sexism that allowed his career to skyrocket post-nip-slip while hers was arguably tarnished.
He definitely didn’t help the situation. Like – definitely didn’t.
But let’s talk about Ms. Jackson.
In 2004 she was already a bona fide icon while Timberlake was still trying to shake his ‘NSync roots and establish himself as a successful solo artist. Sure, he had been in the business for years but only as a bubble gum, super safe, teen-friendly, G-rated pop star. By comparison, Janet had already spent years toting the super sexy line of bad-assness that she has come to be known for and that leads us to believe she and her team were likely complicit in letting her take most of the blame when boo boo hit the fan on the football field.
Let’s not pretend that the Nasty Girl just so happened to bedazzle her boob with no knowledge it would be making a cameo on the most-watched telecast of the year.
Assuming Janet’s assertion that she didn’t tell Justin about her plan until moments before they took the stage was true, chances are he would have been hesitant to go against her wishes. It was her show after all and as we said before, she is Janet. Jackson.
FCC officials are the ones who insisted Janet was the second coming of the devil for showing some serious skin and proceeded to drag her and MTV through the Katrina-like shit-storm that followed.
There wasn’t a diabolical plot from the teenybopper who brought sexy back to ruin his friend’s career. As far as the Grammys go, would you really expect anyone in his position to have the sense and strength to skip the show and jeopardize his own future? He’s a pop star, not Mother Teresa.
He did try to apologize at the Grammys. (Ok, that was bad.)
But that brings us to now.
When news broke that Timberlake would be headlining this year’s Super Bowl, everyone assumed Janet was still banned and began raging against the machine in her defense.
Take a breath and think for a moment. Do you truly believe that Nipplegate wasn’t at the top of the talking points list when Timberlake was considered for this gig? That the NFL (currently at the crux of one of the nation’s most visible racial conflicts) and Timberlake (who has been dragged about this for years) assumed no one would consider Janet when they heard the news? My money is on the table for the fact that the powers that be planned to bring her out all along.
The question is: Should she perform?
And the answer is: Yes.
She has a tour to promote and a snapped-back-after-baby-in-record-speed-50-year-old body to flaunt. Of course she should take the stage. You know why? Because a nip slip didn’t and doesn’t change the fact that she is JANET JACKSON and she needs to let the entire congregation see that.
Cortney Wills is an entertainment writer for theGrio. She is based in Los Angeles.