There are many blacks who gave Justin Timberlake as pass (He was allowed to emulate the black culture/music) without question. He had a very rare card that allowed him to appropriate black music and culture.
In 2004, he was one half of the firestorm at Superbowl 38, where he removed Janet Jackson’s costume exposing her breast. By all accounts Timberlake distanced himself from Jackson, leaving her to take the blame for the wardrobe malfunction. Nipplegate damaged Janet Jackson career and left Justin Timberlake’s unscathed. Leaving many in the black community calling for his card.
Years have passed and Justin Timberlake hung on to his card. Welcomed at black events like the BET (Black Entertainment Television) Awards where he would support issues that affect black people at the event. However, beyond the awards he was absent.
Timberlake owes much of his success to the black community who welcomed him. Today he’s finding himself locked outside in the cold.
In an ideal world his appearance at the Superbowl would have boosted sales for his newest and worst reviewed album of his career “Man of the Woods” that dropped last Friday.
Chris Edwards of the Washington Post said: Timberlake tries to make the world forget about his dud album, and about that alleged purple hologram and — oh, right — about the last time he performed at the Super Bowl, way back in 2004 when he sang, “Bet I’ll have you naked by the end of this song,” then proceeded to rip away a significant portion of Janet Jackson’s stage costume, exposing her right breast to 90 million unsuspecting television viewers. In the months of pearl-clutching that followed, Timberlake’s career went boffo while the rest of the industry encouraged Ms. Jackson to convalesce in the void — a stark and enduring example of how our culture allows some artists (white/men) to get away with any old thing, while others (black/women) are swiftly silenced for stepping out of bounds.
Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times said : Anyone who admires the skill required to get moving parts to move together could see something in this presentation to commend. But this was music, not civil engineering. And there was simply nothing to enjoy about Timberlake’s show beyond its careful planning. The performance lacked soul, meaning, humor; it had no message, nor was it taking any stand — soft, hard or otherwise.
The singing wasn’t even that memorable, and this was after Pink’s shaky (if valiant) stab at the national anthem, which she did while she said she was suffering from the flu.
Before you get going, allow me to stop you: I don’t need every Super Bowl halftime gig to explode like the one in 2016 did, when Beyoncé showed up with a small army of dancers in Black Panther-style berets to do “Formation,” the radical black-pride anthem she’d released one day before. Yet Timberlake wasn’t forsaking politics in order to provide joy, as Bruno Mars did a few years ago. Or as Coldplay did in 2016. (If you forgot, which you probably did, it was technically Coldplay’s Super Bowl show that Beyoncé crashed.)
Or, indeed, as Janet Jackson might have if Timberlake had invited that always-vibrant performer back this year as a means of rectifying the damage her career took after the 2004 incident — even as Timberlake went on to ever greater success. No, joy was in short supply Sunday. This was a show about the dull reality of entrenched power: predictable, witless, a waste of the attention with which we all rewarded it. (http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-super-bowl-justin-timberlake-20180204-story.html)
Like has album, last night Superbowl’s performance was largely panned. On Twitter there were calls for Bruno Mars and he was accused of lip syncing and controversy about his shirt.
At the end of the day, there were people who hoped for vindication or acknowledgement of Janet Jackson by Justin Timberlake. Yes, she has been banned from appearing on the Superbowl, but what if? What would it have done for Justin? Unfortunately, that act requires courage and integrity.