Ok, so I’ll just put this out there since I already have caused a dust-up on my Facebook wall regarding tonight’s half time show starring Shakira and JLo.
I first give kudos to both these women. Shakira is a brilliant performer and I have been a die-hard JLo fan since her very first single. I mean the woman is 50 and still puts women half her age to shame! So the criticism I offer tonight is not directed at either of them with shade, but instead, it is in an observation about the NFL.
As I watched both JLo and Shakira deliver their signature moves of impossibly bionic, rubber hip gyrations, spread legs, and booty thrusts, in skin-baring costumes, along with that big center-stage stripper pole JLo climbed, I had to wonder: is this the same NFL that accused Janet Jackson of bringing on the apocalypse fifteen years ago due to a millisecond flash of her areola covered by a pasty?
The entire premise of how civilization faced being brought to an end when Justin Timberlake and Janet experienced their half time show “wardrobe malfunction,” was that children might be harmed by Janet’s nipple. It all happened in a fraction of a second in which Timberlake tugged on a flap of fabric, revealing Jackson’s barely-visible exposed side boob. It was nothing more than most of us, including kids, see every day on the beach each summer, but in this half time show context, apparently, it was believed to have caused juvenile blindness and sent kids to a lifetime of therapy, or something.
— jlo (@JLo) February 1, 2020
People on Twitter are also feeling some kinda way right now:
someone will have to explain to me someday why Janet Jackson lost her whole career for a covered nipple but it's ok JLo pole danced with dental floss covering her nether regions
— shalise manza young (@shalisemyoung) February 3, 2020
Remember when the world freaked out about half of Janet Jackson’s nipple?
— Eric Nathan (@BarstoolNate) February 3, 2020
So in light of that situation, I don’t see how the NFL would regard JLo and Shakira’s half time show to be any less provocative or inappropriate for children than Janet’s show. Let me be clear; I don’t think Janet, Shakira, nor JLo were inappropriate in their performances. They all put on dynamic shows, but I know a double standard when I see one.
If you head over to Twitter, there are a whole lot of folks who agree. Many people are drawing comparisons to Jackson, and expressing that her half time show was tame when you look at the the rumpshakepalooza on display at Super Bowl LIIV. Many moms declared there was at minimum far too much see-through fabric going on for a family show. Everyone has an opinion about it one way or another.
As for me, I mean seriously ya’ll, Miss JLo brought a stripper pole to prime time and YES I was here for it …
BUT where is all the puritanical outrage from the NFL and the TV network to which Janet Jackson was subjected?
JLo channeling her inner stripper, from her past role in @HustlersMovie. Let’s remember they banned Janet and went into a fuss for showing a nipple. I guess strip club culture is only cool if its PC. #sexwork
— Naomi Sayers, #KweenKwe 💕 👑 (@kwetoday) February 3, 2020
Wait… so they had problems with one Janet nip, but Shakira & J-Lo have flashed V like 10 times???
— Brian Fink 🎙 (91%) (@brianfink) February 3, 2020
The reason why this is something I feel a need to call out is because the NFL remains embroiled in an infamous battle regarding racial inequality with Colin Kaepernick, and then a couple of years back, they welcomed Justin Timberlake to do a halftime show, seemingly exonerating him while Janet remained blacklisted. The hashtag #JusticeForJanet began trending immediately when Timberlake was announced as the halftime show. Reps for the NFL claimed they never officially banned Jackson, but there were reports to the contrary, and her career suffered severely, nearly 20 years from the incident.
So, regarding Sharika and JLo, did they slay tonight? Yes, no doubt, they looked terrific and performed incredibly. This is NOT about them being inappropriate because I thought they were professional, entertaining, while yes – super sexy. That’s not a bad thing. What is a bad thing, however, is a disturbing pattern the NFL exhibits when dealing with African Americans in moments of adversity.
Maybe we’ve just come a long way in fifteen years, and things are more acceptable now, but if that’s the case, and JLo’s and Shakira’s sexually charged performances were ok with the NFL, then Janet Jackson deserves an official apology phone call from the organization first thing tomorrow morning and an invite to come back!
This piece is an opinion piece by one Contributing Writer for Instinct Magazine and may not reflect the opinion of the magazine or other Contributing Writers.