R&B star Janet Jackson made an impressive film debut in Poetic Justice as Justice, a hairdresser at a small salon in South Central Los Angeles. Justice uses her poetry to deal with her grief after her boyfriend is killed in a shooting incident at a drive-in. Hired to work at a hair stylists’ event in Oakland, Justice is stranded when her car breaks down, until she remembers that her friend Ieasha (Regina King) was going to hop a ride down to Oakland with her boyfriend Chicago (Joe Torry), a postal worker who is heading there with a truck full of mail. Justice tags along to discover that Chicago’s driving partner is Lucky (Tupac Shakur), the postman who delivers mail to her shop and keeps asking her out. Ieasha and Chicago have to deal with their own rocky relationship while Justice has to decide if she’s ready for a new love — and if Lucky is the man she’s waiting for. Along with strong work from Jackson, Poetic Justice features a surprising turn from Shakur, whose nuanced performance as Lucky is in strong contrast to his “Thug Life” public persona. Justice’s poems were written by Maya Angelou, who also appears in a small role.
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