For many, Super Bowl Sunday is the sporting event of the year.
For Janet Jackson, it’s a stark reminder of a career derailed by the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” of 2004.
In the years since the incident which saw her breast exposed after Justin Timberlake ripped off a part of her outfit, the internet has taken Super Bowl Sunday as an opportunity to remind everyone that Jackson was short-changed after the incident and Timberlake got off scot-free. In fact, he was even invited back to headline in 2018.
Enter: #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay. Jackson herself took part in the fun, retweeting fans’ photos and thoughts about that day 16 years ago.
In the aftermath of Jackson’s Super Bowl controversy, the singer was fined, blacklisted and turned into a punchline. The incident was also the catalyst for the creation of YouTube as Jackson became the most-searched term on the internet for two years in a row.
In the years following, the Super Bowl halftime show acts tended to be very safe. In fact, no woman would perform for another seven years, when Fergie and her group the Black Eyed Peas took the stage in 2011. Acts between 2004 and 2011 included The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Who and Bruce Springsteen. No risk of “Nipplegate” there.
The Super Bowl halftime show is a huge audience draw for the NFL. When Katy Perry was booked for 2015, 118 million Americans tuned in, according to Billboard.
Since 2004, Janet Jackson has appeared in movies and released three albums. She also went on a world tour and had a short residency in Las Vegas in 2019.
It’s unlikely she’ll ever be invited to perform at the Super Bowl again, so the hashtag is a nice reminder for her from fans that they are on her side.