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The Jackson family dynasty is one of the greatest in entertainment history. It’s birthed multiple generations of stars, with the biggest being siblings Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson. Depending on who you ask, their careers are at equal levels. The King of Pop and Janet gave the world a treat in 1995 when they released their only duet song, “Scream.” “Scream’s” lyrics detail a difficult time in Michael’s life. Janet recently revealed that the accompanying music video is one of the most expensive ever made.

Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson hug
Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards | DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images

Janet Jackson says her brother wrote the song in response to the child molestation allegations against him

The song “Scream” details frustration with media coverage and paparazzi, so much so that it makes its subjects want to literally scream. In the song, Michael sings:

Tired of injustice / Tired of the schemes / The lies are disgusting / So what does it mean? / Damn it / Kicking me don / I got to get up / As jacked as it sounds / The whole system sucks / Damn it.

Source: YouTube

Janet told MTV News in 2009 that Michael was inspired to write the song due to the ongoing child molestation accusations against him. “‘Scream,’ there was so much going on at that time,” she said. “That’s when the — I hate to say this, but — the first allegations [of child molestation] came out and the whole bit. He was very upset and very angry and he had so much pent-up in him that he wanted to get out and say. And when you listen to the lyrics, that’s what it’s about.”

Janet says the lyrics to the song have a dual meaning for her. “I played the role that I’ve always played in his life: his little sister that was there by his side, that had his back no matter what,” she said. “That’s what ‘Scream’ was for me.”

She says the music video cost millions due to the shoot going beyond schedule 

The music video for “Scream” was shot in Black and white. It’s a futuristic theme with the famous siblings dancing side by side in certain sequences. The video also features gravity-defying camera tricks, including the two of them upside down and sideways at points.

Source: YouTube

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“It was supposed to only be like a two-day shoot,” Janet told Allure Magazine in a recent interview. “[The video] wound up being seven days.” Because of going over schedule, the price tag was higher. “It was a $7 million video — I didn’t have to pay, Mike did,” Janet added with a laugh. 

She has only fond memories of the video production. “It was fun getting in the studio and dancing together because we hadn’t done that since I was kid,” she said. “We used to dance together all the time, that was a great deal of fun.”

Janet Jackson paid tribute to Michael Jackson by performing the song live after his death

The brother-sister pair did not perform the song live together. But after Michael died in 2009, Janet did a special tribute performance during the MTV Video Music Awards the same year. 

Janet performed the iconic dance sequence alongside Michael courtesy of a split-screen technology on stage. The performance garnered a standing ovation. The music video won a VMA Award in 1995 for Best Dance Video.