Poetic Justice , a film written produced and directed by John Singleton , debuted in 1993. Staring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur. “A street smart love story” , following a young woman grieving after the loss of her boyfriend. She writes poetry to deal with her pain.
I imagine that most folks in the Black community has either heard of this film, or has at least watched this film once. Personally I’ve lost count with how many times I’ve watched and studied Poetic Justice. Its one of my favorite classic films, for the culture.
With poetry written by Maya Angelou which is recited through out the film by Janet Jackson, the film is surely poetic in more ways than one. In the beginning of the film, justice boyfriend whom was played by “A Tribe Called Quest member “( Q- tip), was killed. Shortly after this happenes, viewers are taken on her journey of considering opening up her heart again, to the character Lucky played by Tupac Shakur.
We all know that Tupac , with his amazing personality and acting skills brought so much soul to the film, yet in this piece , I will not be focusing on Tupac. I am digging deep into particular stages in the film where, the character Justice , had moments that many Black woman can identify with.
Outside of the casual discussions of “our hair” that Black woman have on a daily, there are moments of self love and acceptance, joy and pain, and reality and dreaming.
There is a specific scene in the film, where Justice is alone in her home. Silently one of the most “poetic” scenes. There is no dialogue but one can feel every emotion just through her motions. It begins with Justice burning the ends of her braids, then going on to pick music to listen to, settling with “ Never Dreamed You’d leave in Summer” by Stevie Wonder. Stages. She then goes on to look at herself in the mirror. This moment, is so beautiful, one that I can identify with oh so well. Going through the phases of looking and identifying with yourself, questioning yourself, loving who you are, despising who you are, feeling beautiful, hurt, confusion, reality, and power. Simply every emotion you can imagine.
Someone once told me that one of the ultimate forms of self love is being able to be alone, and enjoy your own company. In John Singletons commentary on the film he stated that ” for every thing that the film lacked in, it made up for in soul”. Justice, outside of opening up again to love someone else, first had to please and love herself. Moments of self realization. Especially towards the end of the film where she realizes the power she holds. Reciting:
“Phenomenal woman, that’s me”
Poetic thoughts .
“Cause nobody, but nobody can make it out here alone”