Justin Timberlake: #neverforget… but they do
I told you. You might want to leave because this post will involve a lot of “I told you”. I told you, way back in February, when Justin Timberlake appeared in an ad during the Super Bowl, that this would happen. That it was only a matter of time, a “matter of time before he gets invited to be the halftime performer. #NeverForget”
Oh but they do. Or maybe it’s not about forgetting. Maybe, in JT’s case, there was nothing to forget. Because it’s not like he’s ever been treated like he did anything wrong. All the blame went to someone else.
But I told you. Just last month I told you again – about the rumours that Jay-Z and JT had been invited to co-headline the Super Bowl. Those rumours got extra loud yesterday as it’s been reported that JT’s in final negotiations, on his own, without Jay-Z, to perform at the Super Bowl. According to Variety, Jay backed out and now it’s only Justin who’s still trying to make this happen. The timing works for him because he supposedly has a new album coming out early in 2018. Oh and, you know, everyone’s picturing him closing the set to that stupid f-cking Trolls song which makes the pearl-clutchers happy because we can count on Justin Timberlake to give us “family entertainment”. After all, there was only one person on stage 14 years ago. A woman. A woman who ripped open her own jacket to reveal her nipple. Justin Timberlake removed himself from the situation. He left her for dead. That’s why they’ve forgotten. That’s why we’re here now. Because all this time, he let her eat all that sh-t by herself. Because we hold men and women to different standards. Because we hold white men and black women to different standards.
For those of us who will #NeverForget though, maybe what we should do is keep reminding them. Here’s what happened at Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston: Janet Jackson was the headliner. Justin Timberlake was her guest. And they were performing HIS song. It was HIS SONG! Rock Your Body. At the last line, “Bet I have you naked by the end of this song”, is when HE reached over and HE pulled the plate off her chest, exposing her breast.
HIS SONG! HE WAS SINGING! HIS LINE!
And people freaked out. So it was Justin who took cover. Who slunk away, the f-cking weasel he is. Janet was forced to apologise publicly on television – BY HERSELF. Then they cancelled her at the Grammys. You know who they didn’t cancel? Justin Timberlake performed at the Grammys a week later and won two awards.
He’s kept rising since then. Meanwhile Janet? Well, as you know, her career was permanently altered, permanently damaged. Because she was banned. She was blacklisted industry-wide.
For a more thorough recap of the situation, and Justin’s repeated refusal to step up and share the responsibility for what happened, including several examples of his cowardice in the days – and years! – following the incident, revisit Gawker’s post about what was expected of Janet after Nipplegate and how Justin Timberlake ACTUALLY BENEFITTED FROM IT.
The fact that he’s welcome at the Super Bowl? That they want him to perform at the Super Bowl? It only confirms what we’ve already known. That men like Justin Timberlake, who use and discard women without compunction, will not only be OK, they will always be rewarded. This time with a prime spot on the most highly rated program of the year, the most-watched night of television of the year. Probably without much of a complaint. I mean, you and I, we might be bitching about it for the next 6 months. But what are the chances that this bothers people as much as it should?
Especially since there are already some who think that he might bring Janet back, as Variety notes that “one major TV music executive even insists a buzzworthy reunion with Jackson can’t be completely ruled out, though that seems far-fetched”.
And…what? This is supposed to be gracious? Like after all these years, if it really goes down like that, we’re supposed to be impressed by Justin’s magnanimity? IT’S STILL GOING TO BE ABOUT HIM!
No matter how you shake it out, no matter what happens, it’s never not going to be about him. Always him. ME ME ME ME ME ME ME.
HE will get the credit.
On HIS stage.
Any “forgiveness” then that Janet might receive would be at HIS request, by HIS doing – which is only an advantage for HIM. And the optics of that are even grosser than the original sin. Because it would be a white man responsible for the absolution of a black woman. Janet Jackson, at the mercy of Justin Timberlake’s blonde ringlets. I never want to see this. Please don’t let us have to see it.
Kevin Mazur/ Getty Images