It’s curious that 14 years after his Super Bowl performance with pop icon, Janet Jackson, people suddenly remembered that a “malfunction” happened in the form of an accidental (or purposeful?) nipple exposure. Is America experiencing a convenient bout of amnesia because I’m pretty sure most of the twitter trolls hating on Timberlake’s joyous performance and thoughtful tribute to Prince were bopping along to Can’t Stop The Feeling a mere few months ago. It is understandable and presumable that this post-Trump election political and sexual revolution has ignited a kind of fire in everyone- and good on ya! But lest we forget the things that bring us together instead of what divides us. I can’t for the life of me understand, especially now, why people are hating on a former boy-bander who was begged to release music for years and eventually did so with the 20/20 experience. Why are we criticizing his clothes for his new album cover? Does it really bother you that he’s wearing as much denim now as he did circa 2000 during *NSYNC’s No Strings Attached days? Why are we mad that he seems to be setting a great example as a dude who is living his life with a wife and a baby and sharing it? Is the joyful human experience no longer marketable in this shiny new jaded climate?
I want to be clear that I am an avid supporter and vocalist for feminist ethics but to absolve Janet Jackson of any doing at 2004’s Super Bowl is a little irrational. It was her camp’s idea. It’s not okay that she was the only one vilified nor blame her because she has breasts and they were exposed, but to choose to have a risky reveal at the end of a family-friendly show was a risk both Jackson and Timberlake were willing to take. She came out looking like the victim with people saying her legacy was ruined because of their uncomfortable (I don’t know haven’t we all seen breasts by now?) mishap but alas, her legacy remains alive and well. Look, her newer albums were never going to be beat the seminole heights of Control and Rhythm Nation; a similar career and creative hurtle Timberlake may now be experiencing with the mixed reviews of his latest album, Man of the Woods. Timberlake apologized a ton of times and owned up for years that he could have handled all of it very differently so, why suddenly in 2018 is it trendy to crucify him?
I can’t help but wonder if what everyone is calling “woke” is really people’s sudden acknowledgement and semi-understanding of a person’s positionality in this country. This kind of mistreatment of identity politics or what people think is the act of “being woke” has the ability to be destructive in that cynicism kills progressive movements and positive leaders. We should all disagree and do so all the time as discourse is entirely necessary to bettering this human experience that, remember, we are experiencing together. Something about pouncing on a singer for thoughtfully paying tribute to a legend who paved the way for him and not acknowledging an event that had been dealt with 14 years previously (and definitely wasn’t assault) doesn’t scream socially progressive to me. We all complain about the people who divide us but tearing apart those who exist to include all of us feels incredibly misguided.
Ladies, I’m mad about these creeps who are being outed in the media and, yes, it’s greatly concerning that many actors (again, like Timberlake) work with Woody Allen who is an alleged sexual assailant but don’t lambaste other humans for their mistakes, lambaste them for their willful ignorance. And hey, are we God? Do we know the difference? Maybe Justin Timberlake is a total weirdo but so far, he reads pretty good and in this day and age we kind of need to support more people like him. Justin is just a dude trying to make other people smile and literally move their feet, he’s not trying to take away your anything. You may end up hating your personal Timberlake’s so hard that you end up hating yourself. I never thought that #hatingeverything would be so trendy. Before you cast your stone, look around and see if you might be kickin' it in a glass house.