It’s official. Justin Timberlake will headline the halftime show at Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. I’ve written about this already – twice. I wrote about it when the rumours first started back in August and again a month later when it was reported that JT was in final negotiations. So I don’t want to repeat what I said. Because…again… I told you. I told you back in February, after the last Super Bowl, when he appeared in a Super Bowl ad for some energy drink he was promoting. This is what I told you:
JT wasn’t at the Super Bowl. But this ad gave him a presence at the Super Bowl. And anytime he’s comes anywhere near the Super Bowl… well… if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know what I’m thinking.
So he gets to make money from the Super Bowl and …what about Janet? Is anyone asking Janet Jackson to front a Super Bowl commercial? Has anybody asked Janet to front anything since he exposed her nipple over a decade ago? That would be no, because she’s permanently banned from the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, he gets to make Super Bowl ads and it’s only a matter of time. A matter of time before he gets invited to be the halftime performer.
This, then, should not be a surprise. How is it a surprise? White men who step on women succeed all the time. White men who step on black woman succeed even more. It’s gross. But what’s grosser is that it’s actually not that gross for a lot of people. Probably for a majority of people. Those are the people who are excited about this announcement. They’re the people who keep telling the rest of us to “get over it”, it happened a long time ago, and that we all need to move on. Because “moving on” is its own privilege. Two people were up there on that stage on February 1, 2004. One of them, at the time, was the bigger star. In 2004, Janet Jackson was the legend, one of the most successful women in music. She and her brother, Michael, endorsed Justin Timberlake. THEY HELPED HIM WITH HIS CAREER. How did he repay her? By running for cover, the weasel punk f-ck that he is, and leaving her for dead. Two people were up on that stage that night. One was blacklisted and banned. The other was invited to every party and would go on to become one of the most successful solo artists of the decade. Not everyone, then, is allowed to “move on”. The same people, over and over again, get to “move on”. Others have to keep eating sh-t until someone else decides that they’re ready to be let out of the doghouse.
Is it possible that JT will invite Janet to join him at the Super Bowl, to right the wrong, to formally apologise for what happened? This is what’s been suggested. He would need, though, to clear it through the NFL and Pepsi first. Which would mean that Janet would need PERMISSION from the NFL, the people who blacklisted and banned her in the first place. Just the thought of this makes me sick – imagining Janet having to SEEK PERMISSION, like approval, like a “pass” from those people to be allowed to come back.
Do we really want that for her? Do we want to put her return to the Super Bowl in the hands of a group of white owners sitting at a boardroom, deliberating over whether or not to grant entrance to Janet Jackson? I want you to picture that. I want you to picture those men, smoking their cigars, inflated by their self-importance, gathered together judging Janet’s suitability for the Super Bowl in between deciding what to have for lunch and where to take their mistresses for dinner. Like THEY get to decide whether or not she would be welcome? As an act of magnanimity?
F-ck that. F-CK THAT SO HARD.
And also? If not them, who else do you think will get all the credit, and I mean ALL THE CREDIT, if Janet actually shows up to perform with him? When has Justin Timberlake ever walked away from taking all the credit, and turning any situation into a showcase for himself?
Finally, there’s another factor to consider: the NFL’s ratings have been on the decline. And players continue to kneel during the national anthem. These have been the major headlines surrounding the league for months as deep divisions between owners and players and players and fans continue to dominate the discussion. THAT’s the Super Bowl Justin Timberlake is stepping into. That might be the only positive takeaway from this story?
Here's Justin performing in Austin this weekend.