Originally created 03/31/04

Jackson and boyfriend party at album release event

NEW YORK -- Hours after explaining away that infamous "wardrobe malfunction," Janet Jackson spent the night partying with her boyfriend, Jermaine Dupri, and an assortment of celebrity pals while celebrating the release of her new album, "Damita Jo."

Jackson arrived at the hot new restaurant Spice Market on Monday night about two hours late, dressed in white - color coordinated with boyfriend Dupri.

She then disappeared behind a VIP area, where a crush of people craned their necks and stood on their tiptoes trying to get a glimpse of the petite superstar, who earlier in the evening appeared on David Letterman's "The Late Show" and talked about the Super Bowl flap.

Dupri gushed about their relationship, saying the pair "do romantic things together every day."

But when The Associated Press asked the rapper-producer whether the two might be hearing wedding bells, he played coy.

"Y'all hear them before I do!" he said with a grin, shrugging his shoulders. "That's what everybody is telling me!"

The event drew a crowd that included Virgin Records labelmate Courtney Love, Patti LaBelle, boxer Lennox Lewis, Ja Rule, fashion designer Betsey Johnson, Brian McKnight, recent presidential candidate Al Sharpton, Nick Cannon, Island Def Jam President L.A. Reid and Ice-T.

Earlier, Jackson told Letterman that her breast-baring, when a piece of clothing was yanked off by duet partner Justin Timberlake during the Super Bowl halftime show, "was totally an accident. It wasn't a stunt."

Another piece of clothing was to have been in place to conceal the breast from view, said Jackson, who conceded that the maneuver wasn't rehearsed.

"You're going to make me relive this?" she asked as Letterman repeatedly questioned her. "I want to put all that behind me. I truly do."

She told the audience she was "sure you're sick of hearing about this."

"I'm not so sure they are sick of hearing about it," Letterman replied. At one point, Jackson was bleeped for saying "Oh, Jesus" under Letterman's barrage of questions.

Jackson's album is being released nearly two months later. The incident sparked a public outcry, congressional hearings and a Federal Communications Commission investigation.

Comedian Tommy Davidson said the criticism of Jackson has been unfair.

"If they had done the same thing to Madonna for kissing Britney, then I'd be OK with it," he said of Madonna and Spears' kiss at the MTV Awards last year. "But it wasn't that big a deal to me."

Partygoers spent part of the night listening to a DJ spin Jackson's music - from her new material to classic hits like "Nasty." Dupri even got behind the turntables for a bit before reuniting with his girlfriend.

Guests at the party received a hefty goody bag with everything from a week's membership to an exclusive gym to double-sided sticky tape - to help keep clothes in place.


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