There aren't many clearer examples of the different standards for women and people of color than the treatment Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake received after their performance at the 2004 Super Bowl.
After a "wardrobe malfunction" briefly exposed Jackson's right breast to TV viewers (the horror!), Jackson was forced to apologize profusely and banned from that year's Grammy Awards — her music and videos were soon expunged from mainstream radio and television. Meanwhile, Timberlake walked away without a bruise, even though he was the one that actually ripped Jackson's dress during the infamous performance. Not only was Timberlake never punished in the way Jackson was, he was even invited back to perform at this year's Super Bowl in Minneapolis.
In light of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, society's differing treatments of women and minorities are finally getting the attention they deserve. As Timberlake prepares for his performance, social media has been clearly on the side of Jackson (especially since news leaked that Timberlake planned to perform with a hologram of Prince, a performer who hated such tacky spectacles).
— April (@ReignOfApril) February 4, 2018
— CalQuin (@GimmieABeat) February 4, 2018
— MsSNATCHAWigJackson (@1_800GOTMyLife) February 4, 2018
— sarah (@WakeUpSooner) February 4, 2018
In 1997 Janet released an anthem to a friend she lost to HIV/AIDS called Together Again. It’s a beautiful and empowering song, and the video she released with it is stunning. #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay pic.twitter.com/erZxhrPjZO
— Calvin (@calvinstowell) February 4, 2018
She gave rhythm to a nation
She made you realize that you don’t know what you got until it’s gone
She took CONTROL!
She is the one, the iconic, @JanetJackson! #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay pic.twitter.com/aJYLsn5GNd
— The Root (@TheRoot) February 4, 2018