The real reason Janet Jackson refused to kiss Tupac

It’s hard to imagine that some of the most iconic movie moments almost didn’t happen. For instance, the quick peck between Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur in Poetic Justice almost didn’t happen because Jackson initially refused to smooch the rapper. And, quite honestly, her reason was actually pretty offensive. According to an interview with The Source, Tupac admitted that he was offended by Jackson’s insistence, and pushed back on her unscientific reasoning for not wanting to lock lips with him. Jackson ultimately had to do it anyway. 

In case you don’t remember, 1993’s Poetic Justice starred Jackson, Tupac, Regina King, and John Torry. Jackson played Justice, who recited poems written by Maya Angelou throughout the movie. Part of the film, however, focused on Justice’s complicated relationship with Tupac’s character, Lucky. They go back and forth and never really get intimate, but the characters do share a kiss. So why didn’t Jackson want to do it?

Janet Jackson's request offended Tupac Shakur

In an interview with The Source, Tupac Shakur revealed that Janet Jackson’s people asked him to take an HIV/AIDS test before their kissing scene. Tupac joked and said that, if Jackson had wanted him to take such a test before an IRL intimate moment, he would have taken “four” of them. But he felt it was unfair to be asked to take the test for a simple love scene when others she’d had love scenes with were reportedly not asked to do the same. 

Not only did it offend the hip hop icon, but Jackson’s request didn’t really make sense since HIV/AIDS could have only been transmitted if each of them had multiple, deep cuts or open sores in their mouth, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One might’ve been able to blame her request on not knowing much about HIV/AIDS transmission back then, but that it could not be transmitted via saliva was already well known at the time. 

Years after Tupac’s death, in 2011, Poetic Justice writer-director John Singleton claimed the entire debacle was merely a publicity stunt. “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 told VIBE. “You do s**t like that and you know everyone is going to be talking about our movie.” At the end of the day, the two did kiss on-screen — and hopefully everyone learned something about how HIV/AIDS transmission works in the process!

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