In a “Too Little, Too Late” report, former FCC chairman Michael Powell has acknowledged that maybe, just maybe the agency he used to run should not have acted as if Janet Jackson’s wayward nipple almost destroyed civilization when it rushed the stage at the 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show.
Reflecting on the now decade-old controversy, Powell said in ESPN The Magazine’s Music Issue: “I think we’ve been removed from this long enough for me to tell you that I had to put my best version of outrage on that I could put on. Part of it was surreal, right? Look, I think it was dumb to happen, and they knew the rules and were flirting with them, and my job is to enforce the rules, but you know, really? This is what we’re gonna do?”
If you recall, the FCC fined CBS $550,00 for the incident – the largest fine in history at the time. Those fines were ultimately tossed out in 2012.
At the time Powell said of the incident: “We all as a society have a responsibility as to what the images and messages our children hear when they’re likely to be watching television.” He went on to whine about “the basic concepts of common decency.
So while it’s nice and all for Powell to essentially admit that he had to put on a performance – i.e. I AM SO DIGSUSTED BY THIS BLACK NIPPLE – the fact remains that Janet Jackson’s career never recovered from the backlash he and others created in order to save their asses from the sexually repressed wing of America and their letter-writing campaign. Even now, all I can think about Michael Powell is that he’d probably make a solid guest star on Scandal.
Meanwhile, we all know how this turned out for Justin Timberlake, the one who actually presented Janet’s nipple to viewers. He kissed every ass cheek of importance within a 10 mile radius in a seven day span and made sure that his still very young solo career would be spared. Only years later would he, too, admit, that Janet deserved better. Timberlake said to Entertainment Weekly in 2009, “I wish I had supported Janet more. I’m not sorry I apologized, but I wish I had been there more for Janet.”
These days, he sneaks in soulless covers of Janet Jackson clips in large arenas Janet no longer books. Uh, that should be Janet booking that stage of which I speak (if you say that in a Rihanna voice, it makes sense).
I don’t care how long it’s been as the fact remains all of the aforementioned names did Janet Jackson dirty, her career was never able to bounce back and as Janet Damita Jo Jackson devotee, I think these sum’bitches owe her some reparations or something.
Damita Jo was a good album, and “I Want You,” one of the best singles of her career. It all tanked over a titty. Moreover, “Strawberry Bounce” was also overlooked. This wrong has yet to be made right.
Y’all had Janet Jackson working with Khia. That song was actually kind of hot, but look how low one of the mightiest pop stars of all time had fallen. Run her some money.
And while the SuperBowl nipple has nothing to do with Tyler Perry taking over the film world briefly with his praise the Lord and shade the stuck up, educated single Black woman with her stuck up ass theme-movies, the biggest hit of Janet’s 00s was her taking a golf club to a desk on film. Oh, and that stupid cough Tyler had her do to signify that her character had AIDS. She deserves a check for this, too.
I won’t pretend to not own a few Jennifer Lopez albums, but we let her ghost singer employing self still cook, but Janet Jackson the pop star visionary was left to spoil like bad ground beef at the hood supermarket? Pay her light bill, America.
Also, there’s still no worthy heir to Janet’s string of hits, gorgeous music videos, and thoughtful commentary on sex, gender, and race. Rihanna has great music, but often performs in slow motion. Ciara would rather be at an Us Weekly party than a citizen of Rhythm Nation. Mya got kidnapped in Japan and no one ever sent out a rescue team.
The 00s should’ve been a whole new decade for Janet to pop, lock and drop it like the Queen that she is. Presently, she’s over in the Middle East, wearing burkas and not giving a damn anymore about that struggle professional period. She may be over it, but those of us who have been singing “If,” “I Get So Lonely,” “Throb,” “Miss You Much” and “Dream Street” are not.
YOU OWE JANET JACKSON, AMERICA. PAY UP.