Janet Jackson Reveals What "Really" Pulled Her Through the "Storm" of Super Bowl Backlash

In a new interview with Allure, Janet Jackson opened up about relying on her “foundation” after the wardrobe malfunction heard 'round the world during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.

By Kisha Forde Jan 11, 2022 5:19 PMTags

After receiving widespread scrutiny in the aftermath of her 2004 Super Bowl performance, Janet Jackson recalled leaning into her family and faith.
In a new interview with Allure, the five-time Grammy winner opened up about what helped pull her through the backlash that occurred after the halftime show. During the now-infamous performance, co-performer Justin Timberlake grabbed Janet's bustier in a planned move—which resulted in an unplanned, brief exposure of her right breast.
In the aftermath of the incident, Janet faced an unprecedented amount of backlash, most recently explored in the 2021 New York Times documentary, Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson, and the FCC fined CBS $550,000. Not only was Janet the main target of headlines poking fun at the incident, but her subsequent album release, Damita Jo, didn't perform as well as expected, while Timberlake's career soared. He was also invited back to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2018.

After being asked how she weathered that particular "storm," she recalled to the outlet, "What's really important is going back to having that foundation. Not just family, but God. That's what really pulled me through," adding, "It's tough for me to talk about that time."

Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson's Most Unfortunate Memories

And although public interest hasn't waned more than 17 years after the televised incident, it's worth noting that Janet has only addressed the occurrence a handful of times before her recent feature with Allure. The first time being back in 2004, when Janet issued a public apology immediately following the incident; and with the second time taking place during a sit-down interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2006.

Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Calling the mishap a "very embarrassing moment," Janet told host Oprah Winfrey that she regretted issuing an apology at the time because, "It was an accident. And management I had at the time, they thought it was important that I did it…And I had said to them, ‘Why am I apologizing for an accident?'"

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

During her 2006 interview, Janet—who will also reportedly open up about the mishap in her upcoming Lifetime documentary—noted the disparity between the public's reaction to her and her counterpart, Justin, telling Oprah in part, "All of the emphasis was put on me." In February 2021, Justin issued a public apology to Janet.
Now, "whether I want to be part of that conversation or not, I am part of that conversation," she told Allure. "I think it's important. Not just for me, but for women. So, I think it's important that conversation has been had. You know what I mean? And things have changed obviously for the better."

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