Read it on Salon
Nelson Mandela: A life in pictures
Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie in this undated file picture.
Topics: Entertainment News
Janet Jackson’s right breast, exposed during the Super Bowl halftime show Sunday by Justin Timberlake, is the talk of the entertainment world. Timberlake was performing an erotically charged number with Jackson when he reached over after singing the lyric “I’ll get you naked by the end of this song” and pulled a part of her costume off, exposing her breast, which was adorned with a sunburst-shaped piercing.
CBS was quickly inundated with calls from outraged viewers, even though Jackson’s breast was seen for only about a second on a long shot. Anyone who was sure of what they’d seen must have recorded the flash and played it back in slow motion. “I’d just like to complain about that halftime show,” callers must have been saying. “I’ve rewound the tape and examined it closely half a dozen times, and, boy, I’m really offended!”
CBS, the NFL and MTV, the halftime show producer, issued apologies, as did Timberlake, who called the incident, which looked intentional, a “wardrobe malfunction.” That’s a phrase that deserves to enter the language. As in, “Uh-oh, girl, wardrobe malfunction. Those pants make your butt look as big as Ted Washington’s.”
Now, in an exclusive interview, Jackson’s breast speaks for the first time about her Super Bowl appearance and the controversy that’s followed. Salon reached the breast on her cellphone.
Have you been surprised by the reaction to your international TV debut?
Honestly, I have. I really don’t see what the big deal is. I mean, you watched the Super Bowl. Every other commercial was for a pill to help guys get erections, am I right? Well, we were just going a more natural route, keeping it organic. Janet’s very into the organic.
So are you saying that Justin ripping Janet’s costume and exposing you was a planned event?
Um — [whispering away from the phone] — um, I don’t want to say that it was planned, no.
So you’re saying it wasn’t planned?
I think it’s better to just say it happened. What happens happens, and you have to look inside your own spirituality to determine the reality of the realism of things, and whether there’s a plan or not is determined by forces we can’t know about and feelings we can’t be sure we have, so we just have to be in tune, be open, let it flow.
I have no idea what you’re talking about and even less interest, and yet I find myself riveted by you.
Yeah. It’s a thing I have.
Hi! Sorry. OK. So what I mean is, it looked planned. I’ve seen some female breasts get accidentally exposed in my time, the odd tube top playfully pulled down, the décolletage becoming disorganized, that sort of thing, and the reaction is always the same: The woman jerks her arms crossed at the chest as she hunches over slightly and lets out a wide-eyed “Oh!” That wasn’t Janet’s reaction.
Janet’s a seasoned performer. She knows how to handle things gracefully.
Yeah, but her reaction was to assume a posture and expression suspiciously close to the heavy-lidded, semi-pained look she uses to simulate being sexually turned on in her videos and photos.
Maybe she was just going with it, staying in the moment.
The way Justin snatched at the costume, it seemed more violent than sexual.
Sometimes a little mild, mutually consensual, I’ll call it roughness, not violence, can be a way for the sexual intertwining of sensualist feelings to get intermingled with the needs and wants of whatever it is you’re trying to be on this earth. Janet and I learned a lot about that from our yoga instructor.
Yeah. There it is again. Strangely fascinating. Anyway, Justin also didn’t act surprised, or embarrassed, or nonplused, or any of the other reactions one might have after accidentally stripping a woman on TV. He just kept that blank look that he always has.
That blank look, that is Justin.
The talk is that Janet needed a career boost, and Matt Drudge is reporting exclusively, for what that’s worth, that CBS executives signed off on your appearance. How cheesy of him to use the self-aggrandizing word “exclusive.”
Well, I don’t know anything about CBS executives, but I can tell you that I don’t need them signing off on anything I do. I mean, check it out, me and my kind pretty much run the world. CBS executives worship me! Everyone does. I make one split-second appearance in a long shot and I’m the toast of the international media.
And besides, those CBS executives aren’t real fond of controversy. They’re the ones who wouldn’t allow an anti-George W. Bush ad on the Super Bowl telecast.
George W.’s my man. Like I said: Me and my kind run the world. But honey, Janet doesn’t need a career boost. She’s a huge star, as symbolized by the piercing of the sun she wears on me.
Even big stars need a boost now and then. Singing “Rhythm Nation” didn’t exactly make her seem current and hot. Justin’s fans were probably thinking, “Is that, like, his old choir teacher or something?”
Now you’re just bringing negativity into the world, and I really don’t want to deal with the negative vibrations right now. Why don’t you go interview Nelly’s crotch if you want to stir up some controversy. This is a big day for me and I’m trying to keep the energy smooth. I’ve got six more exclusive interviews, then Letterman tonight, Howard Stern in the morning. It’s just unreal.
Hey, speaking of unreal, that reminds me of one more thing I wanted to ask you …
- – - – - – - – - – - -
Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie in this undated file picture.
Mandela is accompanied by his former wife Winnie, moments after his release from prison February 11, 1990 after serving 27 years in jail. (Reuters)
In this February, 1990 photo, shortly after his release from 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela, gives the black power salute to the 120,000 supporters packing Soccer City stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg. (AP Photo)
Nelson Mandela showed his passport in February 19, 1990, shortly after his release from prison. The South African government authorized an application for himself and his wife Winnie - (Juda Ngwenya / Reuters)
In this July 27, 1991 photo, Cuban President Fidel Castro, and Nelson Mandela gesture during the celebration of the "Day of the Revolution" in Matanzas, Cuba. (AP Photo)
In this July 4, 1993 photo, President Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela listen during Fourth of July ceremonies in Philadelphia during which Clinton presented the Philadelphia Liberty Medal to the African National Congress president and South African President F.W. de Klerk. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)
President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela acknowledges cheers from the crowd as he prepares to unveil the ANC's official election platform in 1994. (AP Photo/David Brauchli)
African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela greeted residents of Mmabatho in March 1994, during a visit after the nominal homeland came under South African control following the ousting of the former President Lucas Mangope. (Reuters/Howard Burditt)
South African President Nelson Mandela smiles with actor Sidney Poitier at a press conference in Cape Town in 1996. Poitier played Mandela in the film "One Man, One Vote" (AP Photo / Sasa Kralj)
South African President Nelson Mandela waves to crowds as he sits next to Queen Elizabeth II in a an open carriage on the way to Buckingham Palace.(AP/Louisa Buller)
Chairman of the Constitutional Assembly Cyril Ramaphosa, left, holds up a copy of the country's constitution which was signed by President Nelson Mandela, in December 1996. (AP Photo / Adil Bradlow / POOL)
Nelson Mandela at a news conference in Johannesburg in February 2000. (AP Photo / Denis Farrell)
South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar, right, received the Rugby World Cup trophy from President Nelson Mandela also wearing a South African rugby shirt, after South Africa defeated New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup , in 1995. (AP Photo / Ross Setford)