Saturday, September 02, 2006
Justin Timberlake - NOT "The New King of Pop"
Justin Timberlake owes the Jackson family massive apologies. From the start of his career, the Jacksons have been largely responsible for his artistic success.
During Janet's "The Velvet Rope" tour, she gave NSYNC a huge break in their careers by making them her opening act on a leg of her tour. NSYNC was not a popular group at the time, that city-to-city exposure greatly helped give them visibility. Janet claimed she had seen a Disney concert they had done and was impressed, most likely because Justin did a rendition of Michael's Jackson's 'Don't Stop Til You Get Enough' on that show equipped with MJ's moves.
Justin ended up building a career around Michael Jackson's influence. From the way he sings to the way he dances and even the way he dresses, as evidenced by his "Like I Love You" dance attire. Timberlake has cited many influences, but never has he "borrowed", or blatantly ripped off, the others. I have no problem with artists having influences, surely Michael Jackson did, the difference is that: a) you give props and credit where they're due and b) you add something unique of your own, ORIGINALITY to change it up. I'm not doubting Justin Timberlake's ability to be talented. I believe he is. But he doesn't have one iota of originality, and hence he could never be in the same ballpark as someone like Michael Jackson, not that he had a fighting chance either. He's not a genius, he's not THAT talented. Seeing Justin named "The New King of Pop" on Rolling Stone's magazine cover a few years ago was incredibly laughable and sad. Justin did cite Michael as an influence for awhile and Michael Jackson appeared with NYSNC at the MTV Video Music Awards years ago, the boys presented him with an award at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, and they joined the Jackson Five onstage at Madison Square Garden in 2001. All of that changed when child abuse allegations resurfaced about Michael. Justin began doing interview after interview of dropping Michael's name off his list of influences and continued to steal all of Michael's attributes. This appears to be a typical pattern for Justin, who whimps out whenever he sees any inkling of controversy surrounding anything. He clearly can't take a stand for anybody or anything he believes in if it's not 100% popular. Again, totally unoriginal. Original people have their own thoughts and are unafraid to publically be true to themselves. In all honesty, Usher steals from Michael pretty badly as well. The difference is Usher has always admitted it and given Michael mad props, and gives him a shout out every time he wins an award. He's aware he owes Michael, big time.
But it isn't Michael that has been the most royally screwed Jackson by Timberlake, it's Janet. Janet gave NSYNC a huge break, and she continued to support NSYNC's careers and even went to see them in concert. When Justin did his first solo album 'Justified', he asked her to appear on the record and they did a duet together. In fact, you can even hear Janet's voice sampled on his latest single, 'Sexy Back'. If you chose to give any credence to rumors, supposedly Janet reciprocated Justin's life-long crush and the two were seen making out at some clubs and allegedly had a one night stand. If that were true in any way, it would add even more insult to injury into what ended up happening. Fast-forward to Nipplegate, Janet and Justin's performance at the Superbowl where Janet's breast became an international scandal. Justin denied knowing the "wardrobe malfunction" was going to take place, and profusely apologized publically and blamed it on Janet, blaming it all on her. Which is pretty funny considering the event took place right after Justin sang the lyric '...and I'll have to you naked by the end of this song" and RIPPED off her clothing.
The Grammy's would not let Janet or Justin appear at their show unless they issued public apologies, Justin apologized his heart out and continued denying responsibility in all forms while Janet refused to apologize and didn't attend the ceremony. Eventually she did apologize for the incident, cleverly wording it "I'm sorry people were offended" as opposed to apologizing for the action. True artists don't need to apologize for their artistic expression, and people suing national television networks for 'emotional distress' (in light of these same people watching multiple killings and maimings on TV and being fine with it) and CBS being fined half a million dollars plus MTV severing their relationship with Janet despite all that her family has done for the channel was already such a hypocrisy and a serious sign that something is wrong with our society. Janet's career suffered a massive backlash, her 'All For You' album which was released after the Superbowl incident was the lowest selling album she ever released, and the media and public turned on her. Over a breast! One of the most successful female recording artists in history was brought down by FLASHING A TIT. Of course, squeaky-clean mama's boy Justin was able to distance himself completely from the scandal and continue on with his career as if nothing had ever happened. Though in a different way, Justin felt his own backlash. Not from the media or the public, but from his peers and the artistic community, many who distanced themselves from him and expressed upset over his treatment of a friend and woman who had done her best to help him and his career. Justin has since tried to get a hold of Janet who refuses to talk to him, claiming he wasn't the guy she thought he was and had changed since his success.
On a recent interview, Justin was asked what specifically he would have done differently about the Superbowl if he had a chance. He gave an emotional three minute speech about how he let down a lot of his peers and Janet and that he'd felt the consequences of it and should have taken responsibility and stood by her. Oops. He also mentioned that the backlash on her career said something about society's view of women, which while partially true, certainly seemed like another way to evade the fact that the situation was as bad as it was because he dumped it all on her and fled. I doubt her career would have suffered anywhere near that level of destruction had he shouldered half the blame, if not more than half seeing as he was the one to rip off her clothes and expose her to the world. Justin's such a baby. Kind of like when he retaliated after the Britney Spears break-up by telling the world she wasn't a virgin or by making the 'Cry Me A River' video where he's stalking the Britney look-alike. Give me a break, was all that really necessary? Is it possible that this kid can act like a mature adult once in his life? I have yet to see it. You reap what you sow. I doubt Justin will be successful in this industry for a lifetime like the Jacksons. He doesn't have the originality or the backbone.