Janet Jackson bows out of Grammys over Super Bowl furor

Sunday, February 8, 2004

Even without appearing at the Grammys tonight, Janet Jackson's presence will be inescapable.

The singer was supposed to have presented a special award for Luther Vandross, but pulled out amid the furor following her Super Bowl performance.

Also avoiding the show will be Jackson's good friend, rapper and music producer Jermaine Dupri, who announced Friday he was resigning as president of the Recording Academy's Atlanta chapter.

"I didn't want to be a part of something that's not treating people in the right light," Dupri said. "I feel like what's going on with Janet is unfair."

Jackson's halftime partner, Justin Timberlake -- who tore off the piece of clothing that exposed her right breast -- will be there, however. He's up for five Grammys, including album of the year, and is scheduled to perform.

But many expect that Jackson's absence will be felt more than her presence would have been, and that her stunt will overshadow the awards themselves.

"All night it will remind Grammy viewers, who are an antiestablishment lot, that this is not really their party," said Tom O'Neil, author of "The Grammys" who runs the awards handicapping Web site Goldderby.com.

"When the Grammys are at their hippest and best, they reward artists for daring to be social rebels. Now it's outrageous for the Grammys to punish Janet Jackson for performing that same role on someone else's stage. ... This just proves that the Grammys are really still the Grannies."

Spokesmen for the awards ceremony and for the Recording Academy didn't return phone calls seeking comment Friday.

Normally conservative show

Blender magazine editor Craig Marks pointed out that the Grammy ceremony is a conservative affair under normal circumstances. Now, CBS is instituting a five-minute delay to allow enough time to edit out any potentially offensive moments.

"I would imagine that this would be the most staid, surprise-free, least-lewd Grammys of all time," Marks said. "The Grammy producers, the network, the labels, the managers and the artists, too, probably realize that some kind of extra crotch grab or cuss word would not be beneficial to their careers."

Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl said Jackson's breast-baring stunt was nothing more than self-promotion and "blatant exhibitionism."

The former Nirvana drummer believes the music industry has been harmed by the skin-revealing exploits of Jackson, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.

"Get them on the Playboy Channel," Grohl said. "Keep them out of my MTV. I want to see bands and music."

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