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Justin Timberlake Can Finally Make Up for 'Nipplegate'

He better bring Janet Jackson up on stage when he headlines next year's Super Bowl halftime show.

by Lauren O'Neill
Oct 23 2017, 3:36pm

Image via Wikimedia Commons

It's been confirmed that Justin Timberlake will play the halftime show at Super Bowl LII next year. Rumors initially circulated a few weeks ago that Timberlake would be tapped for the gig, and on Sunday night came the official announcement. On one hand, Timberlake is a qualified, solid choice: he's an accomplished singer and dancer with an extensive catalog, whose music from N*SYNC to Future Sex/Love Sounds and beyond is much loved the world over. He's had a long career, and he's likely to put in an entertaining turn. That's not the problem.

The issue is that Justin Timberlake has stood on the Super Bowl stage before. After appearing with N*SYNC in 2001, he joined Janet Jackson for her half-time show at Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. The two performed a duet version of Timberlake's song "Rock Your Body," at the end of which he pulled off part of Jackson's costume, exposing her bare breast on TV. Following the incident, the broadcaster CBS was fined (though this was later overturned), and Jackson's music and videos were blacklisted from massive media outlets such as MTV, Viacom, and CBS, which no doubt had a huge impact on her career. Justin Timberlake, however, basically walked away unscathed, and hasn't faced any consequences—apparent in the fact that he's now been invited back.

So it sucks quite a bit that he's been booked for the Super Bowl when his actions at his last one caused such mayhem. It's also a particularly horrible example of the way that black women are treated in the media when they make (or are even involved in) a mistake, versus the way white men can go about their careers with little care for consequences.

Obviously the best way for Timberlake to rectify what happened would be to bring Jackson on stage to grace the world with her immense talent – in fact, it would be kind of an eyebrow-raiser if he chose not to. I'm personally hoping for an "All For You" / "Rhythm Nation" medley that lasts the entire ten minutes, thanks.

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