Janet Jackson is currently on tour. Last week she performed in Chicago. And on Friday, accompanied by her brother Randy, she spent the day in Gary, Indiana where, of course, the Jacksons grew up. They visited their childhood home and she and Randy also stopped by Roosevelt High School to speak with students, talk about their memories of growing up in the area, and offer advice to kids about the music business. According to the Northwest Indiana Times, when asked by one of the students to name her favourite album, she said it was Rhythm Nation:
"When I was writing it, the things (that were happening then) are still happening." She pointed to "drugs, ignorance, racism" and the other tragedies and evils currently going on in the world."
We talked a lot about Janet last week. Last weekend the NFL and Justin Timberlake confirmed that he would headline the halftime show at the Super Bowl, prompting a revisiting of what happened the last time he was on stage at the Super Bowl. And how Janet took all the sh-t for what they did together. Many are now speculating that JT will invite Janet to come back with him. Some say that if he does make the request, she would say yes.
But you know what’s been happening in the NFL. Did you hear what happened this week in the NFL? Bob McNair, the owner of the Houston Texans, said at an NFL owners’ meeting last week about the player protests that “we can’t have the inmates running the prison”. He issued an apology on Friday. On Saturday he tried to clarify that he wasn’t talking about the players but about the league and its relationship with the owners. Sure.
Jay-Z mentioned the Houston Texans situation when he kicked off his 4:44 tour in Anaheim before going into The Story of OJ, a song that directly confronts racism in America. You’ll recall, when the Justin Timberlake Super Bowl rumours started back in August, it was initially reported that he and Jay-Z would be headlining together. Jay supposedly dropped out of those negotiations. And many believe when he showed up on Saturday Night Live wearing a Colin Kaepernick jersey he was making a statement about why he wasn’t interested in the opportunity. Colin filed a grievance against the NFL earlier this month alleging that he’s yet to be signed to another team because the owners had colluded against him.
Yesterday during the game, over 30 Houston players knelt and/or sat during the national anthem in direct response to Bob McNair’s comments, once again putting player protests at the top of the headlines. So, needless to say, as ratings continue to drop, this has not been a great year for the league. To get back to Janet then, and whether or not she’ll perform with JT at the Super Bowl, Entertainment Tonight reported last week that a source says that if Justin asked her to, “Janet would perform with him again in a minute”. Really? Given the issues she’s been addressing since Rhythm Nation came out 28 years ago, and the state of the NFL right now, do we really want to see Janet Jackson being associated with the league… just to make Justin Timberlake look and feel better?
Unless, of course, you think JT has it in him to turn his Super Bowl performance into a protest of his own. Which would mean you think Justin Timberlake would take the opportunity to make a statement about gender, race, and equality. That he would defy sponsors and the NFL and criticise the very people who invited him to take over the stage.
Yours in gossip,