When it was announced that Justin Timberlake would be performing at the Super Bowl this year, many were surprised that he was invited back after the infamous Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" of 2004, in which JT appeared to expose Jackson's pasty-covered breast. Jackson took most of the blame for the scandal, dubbed "Nipplegate," and Jackson's family, reportedly, has not forgiven Timberlake for letting her take the fall.
To put the focus back on Jackson today and celebrate the Rhythm Nation stars' lasting cultural influence, Twitter started the #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay hashtag:
And all the younger artists from Aaliyah, Brandy, to Brittany, Ciara, Rihanna, & all the rest, tailored some of their look &moves after Janet. Face it, Ms. Jackson set the trend & laid the foundation for today's pop & R&B artists. #Legend#JanetJacksonAppreciationDay — TeeTee (@teeNYMD50) February 4, 2018
After the incident, Jackson was effectively blacklisted by some parts of the entertainment industry while Timberlake's career was able to thrive. Her music videos were reportedly blocked from playing on several cable networks, and her Grammys performance was canceled (Timberlake won a Grammy that year). At the time, Timberlake brushed it off, telling Access Hollywood, "Hey, we love to giving you all something to talk about."
Two years later, he made an attempt at a better apology, telling MTV, "I could've handled it better. I probably got 10 percent of the blame, and that says something about society. I think that America's harsher on women. And I think that America is, you know, unfairly harsh on ethnic people."
Jackson spoke with Oprah about the incident, saying she felt she was treated unfairly. "I think they did put all the emphasis on me, as opposed to us," she said.
Perhaps Timberlake will pay some sort of tribute to Jackson at the half time show today. Either way, we have Twitter:
Janet Jackson has long been an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ folks, but my favorite factoid about her is that "Together Again" was written in memory of a friend who died of AIDS.#JanetJacksonAppreciationDay — Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) February 4, 2018
Crazy how Janet's career was hurt but Justin's career took off after their first infamous Super Bowl performance! Don't worry Janet, we still love you! I'm just saying...no knock on Justin, but it's funny how that worked out! Still a legend though! #JanetJacksonAppreciationDaypic.twitter.com/QXtvfXx5Zt — Rashan Reeves (@Babyblack1977) February 3, 2018