Poetic Justice Turns 25
“You Wanna Smell My Punnai”
25 years ago, on July 23rd 1993, Poetic Justice was released. It was directed by John Sigleton and stars Tupac Shakur, Janet Jackson and Regina King. The story is about a hairdresser, Justice, who is played by Janet Jackson, grieving after the murder of her boyfriend she turns to writing poetry to deal with her loss. When she is unable to get to Oakland to attend a convention because her car broke down, Justice gets a lift with her good friend Iesha, played by Regina King, and Iesha’s postman boyfriend Chicago.
Coming along for the ride with the trio is Chicago’s co-worker Lucky, Tupac’s character. After some initial problems Justice grows close to Lucky and they have a liking for each other but is Justice ready to open her heart again? The film’s director, John Singleton, said he wanted to tell a story of how black women in South Central were being affected by the way in which the black men in their lives were dying. Here’s some trivia about Poetic Justice that might leave you suprised!
1. Janet Jackson wanted Tupac to take an AIDS test!
Probably Janet Jackson was paying to much attention to how the media were portraying Tupac, like he was living a wild lifestyle. Although there were no sex scenes between the two, just a kiss, she wanted him to take the test. Tupac refused, not once but a handful of times because each time he said he wasn’t taking the test she would send somebody else from the set in to ask. Tupac refused each request. A person with AIDS would have to exchange a gallon of saliva with another person or have open cuts in their mouth to transfer the disease to somebody else.
2. Ice Cube was initially offered the role of Lucky
Ice Cube was offered the role but he politely turned it down because he felt at that point in his acting career he wasn’t ready to play a romantic lead. Two years prior to the offer of playing Lucky, he played Doughboy in the 1993 hood movie Boyz N the Hood.
3. John Singleton made Janet do her homework
For the role of Justice, director John Singleton made Janet do her research. He put her in contact with a few female
friends from his neighbourhood to learn about hood life. She hit it off with the group of girls and two of them went on to become background dancers when Janet toured. A few other things Singleton had Janet doing was spending a day in a hair salon and he apparently made Jackson gain ten pounds!
4. Tupac shows ‘Heart of an Outlaw’
On the first day of rehearsal Regina King was in a car accident. When she arrived at the set Tupac took care of her. He took her down to the police station to give in details of the accident and took her to lunch. She has spoken out in interviews about how Pac’ was loyal and he looked out for her and what a good man he was. Another example of his good heart was when Poet and Medal of Freedom winner Maya Angelou, who makes a cameo in the film, saw Tupac enraged and arguing on the set. Maya approached Tupac and asked him “When was the last time anyone told you how important you are?” She then reminded him about what his ancestors went through. Tupac hugged Maya and began to cry.
5. John Singleton caught a lot of criticism
Singleton would come under fire from critics because it was deemed as a ‘Loved up drama’ and not a lot of violence. Singleton’s reaction to the critics of the film is priceless. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly he goes for the throat of the film’s critics;
”There’s only so many movies you can make where you have black people shooting each other and making people laugh and trying to shuck and jive.”
He continued;”Some critic coming up and trying to talk about my stuff just because he has some personal problems with a black man who’s 25 years old that has a college degree with no criminal record that’s made two movies and been nominated for two Academy Awards — if he’s gonna talk Isht about me because he has a problem with that, then I don’t give a hair. If I wasn’t able to make movies and get out what was on my chest, where would I be as a young black male in America?”
Tupac took the role of Lucky because he wanted to show another side to the Black men of South Central. He described how portraying this side of the young black male was important to him; “I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t show another reflection of a young black male of today. All of our young black males are not violent. They’re not taking the law into his own hands. They’re all not going to that extreme. So Lucky’s working, he’s very responsible. He wants to set goals and accomplish them.”
The film’s soundtrack was released on June 29th 1993 through Epic Soundtrax, a division of Sony Music’s Epic Records. It featured artists such as Naughty by Nature, TLC, Stevie Wonder and Snoop Dogg and Tha Dogg Pound. Tupac’s ‘Definition of a Thug Nigga’ and Janet Jackson’s ‘Again’ also appear on the soundtrack.
Check out the original trailer below! Let us know below what your favorite part of the movie is.