The late King Of Pop Michael Jackson reportedly praised Dancehall star Elephant Man for helping to redeem his sister, Janet Jackson, following 2004’s Super Bowl ‘wardrobe malfunction’ controversy.
That’s according to Elephant Man himself in a recent episode of Teino Evan’s YouTube series, Next Frideh. Diving into his career highlights, the Jook Gal deejay recalled Michael’s gratitude for a captivating set at the 2004 BET Awards, in June that year, following the fashion faux pas that almost cost Janet her illustrious career.
Ele also admitted to being reasonably starstruck during the phone call, especially when he learned the Thriller icon liked his crossover hit, Pon De River, Pon De Bank.
In February 2004, Janet Jackson’s career was permanently affected due to a humiliating incident at the Super Bowl Halftime Performance, one of the most widely televised events. As part of a planned stunt, fellow performer Justin Timberlake tore off a part of Jackson’s outfit, unwittingly exposing her breast in the process. In the ensuing controversy, Timberlake was largely spared criticism while Janet’s decades-long career hung in the balance.
The malfunction resulted in a $550,000 fine against the network (CBS), while, as Billboard pointed out, Jackson suffered various repercussions including being publicly shamed. She was made to release a video apologizing for the incident.
According to Cheatsheet, the five-time Grammy Award winner was also barred from attending the 2004 Grammys, while Timberlake attended and apologized while accepting the award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
Per the Rolling Stones, in February 2021—17 years later—the Cry Me A River hitmaker apologized again, this time claiming he had “failed” Jackson. Long before that, however, Elephant Man may have helped restore a level of confidence to those painting Jackson in a bad light after the Super Bowl.
He and Janet performed a show-stopping snippet of their All Nite Remix that saw Janet taking on a few Jamaican dance moves and Elephant Man delivering his trademark ‘Energy God’ antics.
The Jackson brothers have always been notoriously protective of their youngest sister, and Ele excitedly recalled Michael’s personal thank you’s after their show.
“Ele, I’m just saying thank you. You don’t know what you did for Janet, I love what you did for my sister, man that show was great,” Michael said, according to Elephant Man.
Elephant Man, who made his name turning street dance choreography into catchy hits said it was a joy to be acknowledged by the King of Pop, arguably the world’s most revered dancer. According to Elephant, from that day he knew that he had reached the heights of greatness when Jackson repeated lyrics from Pon De River, Pon De Bank.
“An him a say I love the music: ‘I see nuff dance before, but I never seen a dance like this,’” he added. “From deh so me seh to myself, Father God, as a likkle bwoy weh come from Seaview, weh we grow up and know seh dis is di King of Pop, di man weh introduce dancing, come pon my phone, Oniel Bryan phone, and congratulate me on mi performance, big me up, sing piece ah Pon Di River, know di whole ting and di work and di energy weh Elephant Man put een, dat mean seh my ting bless.”
Michael Jackson’s death in 2009 was ruled a homicide after he was administered a drug cocktail by his doctor, Conrad Murray. Murray was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served two of a four-year sentence for the crime.
Meanwhile, Elephant Man remains one of the most successful Jamaican Dancehall artists. His other career highlights include three Billboard Hot 100 singles: Whine Up with Kat Deluna, Jook Gal (Wine Wine), and Pon De River, Pon De Bank which peaked at No. 86 on the chart.
His 2003 album, Good 2 Go, peaked at No. 74 on the Billboard 200 chart, while Log On (2001) and Let’s Get Physical (2008) peaked at No. 2 and No. 1 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart respectively.