Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson Come Clean?

The ubiquitous wardrobe malfunction can happen to anyone, whether it be a latex corset, a pair of leather pants, or a tight skirt sporting a high slit. But when a malfunction exposes the bare body part of one of the world’s biggest pop stars in front of millions, it will make the news…at the very least. The recently aired “Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson,” part of the New York Times new documentary series, addressed this most infamous wardrobe malfunction of our times. 

One we don’t seem to be clear of yet.

The notorious “nip-slip” which prompted “nipple-gate” occurred during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show performance of Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson. During the end of their performance, Justin stepped up close to Ms. Jackson, reached across her chest, and ripped at her bodice. Justin exposed the lady’s breast (for a total of 9 16ths of a second) and the nipple ring she was wearing around her pert nipple.

The documentary argues that Timberlake, who, like Jackson, did apologize after the exposure (although they did not apologize together) escaped the incident none the worse for wear. Jackson, though, was vilified, and as this show opines, it was as much from “institutionalized racism, sexism, and misogyny” as the fact that she showed her nipple on prime time t.v. 

The documentary certainly didn’t have any clear-cut answers. However, it was implied during the broadcast that the idea for the stunt came from the Jackson camp initially or that some sort of risqué exposure had been planned from the beginning. Some witnesses to the halftime show rehearsal claim that Timberlake was supposed to pull Jackson’s skirt off (conflicting reports claim she was to wear a unitard underneath, others say a pearl G-string). There have also been rumors that Jackson’s stylist may have purchased new wardrobe items, including that sunburst-shaped nipple shield, after the rehearsal. Still, others contend that the reason any of this was at all considered was that Timberlake wanted to show up the Britney Spears/Madonna/ Christina Aguilera’s ménage-a-kiss the trio managed at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. 

Although interesting, “Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson” didn’t really get to the why’s and who’s of the malfunction and if the costume tearing was an accident or staged. And while quite a few people are weighing this week post the show airing, fans are wondering if they might read more about the rip-of-the-century in the two-night Janet. documentary, airing in the New Year.

Share this post:

Leave a Comment