Cultural (appropriation) icon, pop star and stunt master Justin Timberlake was exposed this week by a stylist who worked with him during him and Janet Jackson’s controversial NFL Super Bowl halftime show in 2004, according to Page Six.
Wayne Scot Lukas is a fashion consultant of considerable renown. He was a co-host on “What Not To Wear” on TLC for the first season. He was also the stylist for Timberlake’s Justified/Stripped tour that the ramen-noodle-haired singer shared with Christina Aguilera. In 2004, he styled Janet Jackson for the performance that ended delivering much more than anyone could have imagined.
At the time, Timberlake called the accident a “wardrobe malfunction” when Jackson’s breast was exposed after he dramatically ripped a piece of fabric off the molded cup of her bustier at the end of their show.
“I am sorry if anyone was offended by the wardrobe malfunction during the halftime performance at the Super Bowl,” he said. “It was not intentional and is regrettable.”
However, two days ago, Lukas claimed that the “accident” was actually a well-constructed plan conceived by Timberlake himself. The Super Bowl show came after a salacious MTV Video Awards performance where Madonna, Christina Aguilera, and Britney Spears kissed seductively and caused a media frenzy. Justin decided that he would use Jackson and her talent to try to upstage his ex-girlfriend Spears’ contribution to the cultural zeitgeist at the time.
“Janet was going to be in a Rocha dress, and [Justin] was going to step on the back of her dress to reveal her butt in this pearl G-string,” Lukas said.
He continued, “I wouldn’t call it a wardrobe ‘malfunction’ in a million years. It was the most functioning wardrobe in history. As a stylist, it did what it was intended to do.”
If the stunt was intended to nearly upend the career of one of the most prominent and prolific Black women in the entertainment industry, Lukas is right. The “wardrobe malfunction” caused Jackson years of professional backlash. She was forced to issue a written and videotaped apology and still dealt with being ostracized by industry decision-makers. Meanwhile, Timberlake skated by offering no more than the type of “apology” that would come from a 14-year-old coquette. Over the years, his response to the event changed several times but none of them included him confessing to being the mastermind behind it all.
After the documentary “Framing Britney Spears” was released, Timberlake decided to apologize “sincerely” for his treatment of both Spears and Jackson. “I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism,” he said.
Lukas, of course, is in the process of writing a tell-all book that will include the entire saga. However, he plans to treat the situation with more dignity than Timberlake did. “I’ll never throw her [Jackson] under the bus. She’s my friend and is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever worked for. There’s nothing shady about her,” he said.
The stylist claimed that Janet has forgiven Timberlake in private. We’re not sure we have though.