Tupac Shakur’s Claim That Janet Jackson Demanded He Take an AIDS Test for a Love Scene in ‘Poetic Justice’ Was a PR Stunt
One of Tupac Shakur’s most beloved movie roles was as Lucky in Poetic Justice. He showed his versatility, starring as an ambitious single father who falls in love during a road trip. His leading lady was none other than Janet Jackson. While Tupac was thrilled to work with Jackson, he walked away from the film confused on where they stood as friends after alleging that Jackson and her camp demanded that he take an AIDS test for a love scene.
Tupac Shakur claimed Janet Jackson demanded he take an AIDS test for love scene in ‘Poetic Justice’
Tupac said things were going fine on set until he was approached in his trailer by a member of the film crew to take an AIDS test in order to participate in the love scene with Jackson.
“I don’t know if it was Janet that it came from, but suddenly, out of the blue, they wanted me to take an AIDS test for this love scene and I did not disagree if we were really gonna make love,” he said in an interview after filming wrapped. “I said, ‘If I can make love with Janet Jackson, I’ll take four AIDS tests.’ “But if I’m gonna do a love scene with her just like somebody else did and they didn’t take a test, I’m not taking a test. Not only am I not taking the test, but get out of my trailer.”
Even after the conversation, he explained that four additional people on the crew approached him in an attempt to sway his decision. After refusing, Tupac says the love scene was scrapped overall and they settled for an on-screen kiss.
Despite the uncomfortable request, he maintained that he and Jackson remained friendly during filming. According to him, the Pleasure Principle singer even gave him her number to remain in contact. Tupac revealed in the same interview that when he dialed the number, it was no longer in service.
John Singleton later explained that he created the AIDS test demand for publicity for the film
Singleton wrote and directed Poetic Justice and was also friends with Tupac off-set and the two often joked. Singleton explained in a 2011 interview with VIBE that he was the one who came up with the idea to tell Tupac he had to take an AIDS test for the love scene.
“That was a publicity stunt we came up with. Me, Janet, Tupac, Regina King and Joe Torry were sitting on the set. Everyone is trying to impress Janet anyway. I was like, “Man I don’t know about this love scene. You’ve been hitting all this s**t. I don’t know if I want you touching my actress,’” he recalled.
Singleton corroborated Tupac’s account of him denying the request. Tupac’s co-star, Joe Torry, told VIBE that after so many requests from the film crew, coupled with jokes about it, Tupac became enraged. Seeing his reaction and knowing Tupac’s inability to control himself, Singleton used the situation as publicity for the film.
“You do s**t like that and you know everyone is going to be talking about our movie,” Singleton said.
Singleton’s stunt worked. Poetic Justice opened at No. 1 during its opening weekend.