COVER STORY | Poetic Justice will forever be a cult classic staple of mine. Maybe it is the nostalgia from sitting in my mother’s salon as a child, listening to the women tell all of their business. The things you hear in a salon! Written and directed by John Singleton, the 1993 released film tells the story of grief, love, friendships, and self-discovery. With an all-star cast, a banging soundtrack, and beautiful poetry by the late Maya Angelou, Poetic Justice is one movie you can watch time and time again.
In the opening scenes, we’re introduced to Justice, played by Janet Jackson, and her boyfriend, played by Q-tip. At a drive-in movie, Justice asks her boyfriend why he loves her to which he replies, “The real reason I love you is when I was in the county jail, you sent me all those nice poems.” When Q-tip’s character gets fatally shot after an encounter with some guys he had beef with a while back, Justice must put back the pieces of life. This sets the tone for the film and Jackson’s character. Grieving the death of her boyfriend, Justice, a hairstylist and poet embark on a journey of self-discovery that wasn’t necessarily her intention. When her car doesn’t start the day she’s supposed to travel for a hair show, she must rely on her friend Iesha played by, Regina King, Iehsa’s boyfriend Chicago, played by Joe Torry, and his friend Lucky, portrayed by the late Tupac Shakur, to help her get to the show. After a less-than-pleasant previous encounter with Lucky, Justice is shocked to learn that he will be accompanying them on this “run” to Oakland. This is where the bulk of this movie takes place.
Everything that can go wrong does on this trip. Lucky and Justice’s argument scene is iconic. That neck roll does it for me every single time. Friendships are tested, issues are confronted, relationships are dismantled, and new bonds are formed. Each of the key scenes are accompanied by one of Angelou’s poems (who also makes a cameo in the film), further develops the story and its characters. The cast of the film are exceptional. While many praised Jackson’s and Shakur’s performances, the real breakout star of the film is Regina King. My absolute favorite scene of this film is when Iesha and Chicago have an argument that turns into a physical altercation. (I still want to know where he found that brush.) It is in this scene where you begin to see King’s range as an actress, and how it pivotal it was in the evolution of her career. This film will make you laugh, cry, and reflect on some things in your own life. I give this movie a rating of all that and a bag of chips. It is one of the many 90’s films that I know word for word.Leave a comment