Is Justin Timberlake returning to the Super Bowl?
In a surprising twist, the pop superstar is in final talks to headline next year’s halftime show in Minneapolis, according to Us Weekly. It would mark his return to the event, where he ripped off part of Janet Jackson’s outfit, revealing her nipple on live television 13 years ago.
There are also rumors that his frequent collaborator JAY-Z would join him for the big show, but a source claims that, as of now, “no surprise performers” will appear beside Timberlake.
Prior to this, Hov reportedly declined an invitation to perform at the annual event. Many believed his decision was influenced by the current controversy surrounding the NFL and the perceived blackballing of Colin Kaepernick following his kneeling protest against police brutality and racial inequality in this country. Jigga recently paid tribute to Kap with a performance of “The Story of O.J.”
At the time, the NFL did not deny the JAY-Z reports. Instead, they issued a statement, confirming that nothing had been finalized yet. “No decisions have been made on the performer(s) and we are not going to speculate on particular artists,” said a spokesperson. “Along with Pepsi, we know that we will put on a spectacular show. When it is time to announce her name we will do it. Or his name. Or their names.”
In 2004, Timberlake and Jackson appeared in the now-infamous “Wardrobe Malfunction” Super Bowl moment, which has also been called “Nipplegate.” During the halftime performance, Timberlake exposed Jackson’s nipple and it resulted in the Federal Communications Commission creating a five-second delay on live performances.
The show also ended with more criticism for Jackson than Timberlake, which JT eventually lamented. “It’s an understatement to say that it was sort of unfair,” he later told MTV. “If you consider it 50/50, I probably got 10 percent of the blame. That, I think, says something about society. America is harsher on women. America is unfairly harsh on ethnic people. At the time it was happening, it was so crazy to me, that I didn’t handle it the best way I could have.”
Timberlake has not publicly addressed the Super Bowl reports.