This will mark the “SexyBack” singer’s third performance at a Super Bowl halftime show, and first since the notorious “Nipplegate” incident with Janet Jackson in 2004.
What goes around… comes back around — 13 years later.
This week, the NFL announced that Grammy-award winning recording artist Justin Timberlake will be the official half-time performer at the 52nd Super Bowl on February 4, 2018.
In taking this role, Timberlake will make his third appearance as a Super Bowl halftime performer — his most recent was in 2004, when he tore off part of fellow performer Janet Jackson’s leather top, revealing her breast. Many Americans were outraged at the display of public nudity on a show often watched by more than 100 million people.
Many Jackson fans are furious at the Timberlake news, taking to social media to stand up for the singer using the hashtag #JusticeForJanet.
Justin Timberlake being welcomed back to the Super Bowl with open arms is the definition of white privilege. #JusticeforJanet
— Katy Clark (@AllEyesOnKaty) October 23, 2017
— Andre 🐝 (@hivelite) October 23, 2017
What’s more, some experts say it smacks of discrimination. “We still kind of blame her for that; she still hasn’t been forgiven, [but] he gets to come back,” Syracuse University professor of pop culture Bob Thompson said in an interview with Moneyish. “It demonstrates a lot of sexism,” he added. To be fair, Timberlake’s star power has taken off in recent years (his hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2017), and the NFL tends to pick big stars who will make a splash for its halftime shows.
Super Bowl halftime typically cost the NFL between $600,000 and $10 million, according to Forbes, though the precise price tags of these shows is a closely guarded secret. While artists aren’t compensated for their performances, they generally see a bump in record sales post-performance. Beyoncé enjoyed a 59% increase in album sales after her 2013 New Orleans performance, according to Forbes, and 2014 headliner Bruno Mars saw his album sales jump 400% after his New Jersey performance.
And even if they don’t see album sales rise, they certainly get more name recognition — especially if they put on an epic performance like these stars did.
1. Coldplay: The British band led by singer Chris Martin headlined the 2016 show in Santa Clara, California. The performance was widely lauded as it included surprise performances from Super Bowl alums Beyoncé and Bruno Mars.
2. Lady Gaga: The “Bad Romance” singer was the star of the 2017 half time show at the 51st Super Bowl in Houston, Texas. Singing the National Anthem, Gaga literally flew into the stadium on cables and hugged fans as she made her way through the crowd.
3. U2: Just five months after the September 11th, 2001, attacks, U2 — headlined by Bono — brought viewers to tears with their touching tribute to the 9/11 victims at the 36th Super Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana. A huge screen onstage displayed the names of all the victims of the tragic terrorist attacks, and Bono pulled open his jacket, revealing American flag lining inside.
4. NSYNC, AeroSmith & Britney Spears: A plethora of stars performed at the 35th Super Bowl held in Tampa, Florida. NSYNC opened the show with “Bye Bye Bye” — this marked Timberlake’s first Super Bowl performance — and Britney Spears later took the stage with Steven Tyler of AeroSmith. Even Mary J. Blige joined in.
5. Janet Jackson & Justin Timberlake: No Super Bowl round-up would be complete without recalling the 2004 incident involving Jackson and Timberlake. The incident, in which Jackson’s right nipple was briefly exposed, albeit hidden by a nipple shield, incurred a $550,000 fine from the Federal Communications Commission (which was later voided in a 2011 Supreme Court ruling).
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