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#ThrowbackThursday: Remembering Maya Angelou With Janet Jackson’s “Again” From “Poetic Justice”

The DVD cover to the 1993 film Poetic Justice, which featured poems by Maya Angelou.

by Sean Smith

This week the world lost one of 20th Century’s leading literary minds with the passing of Maya Angelou. The 86-year-old poet is most notably known for her 1969 memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” which describes in lyrical form her childhood while growing up in the racially segregated South.

Angelou’s writings over the years delved into a number of pertinent social issues including race, gender, family, and community. She performed at the 1993 Presidential Inauguration of Bill Clinton and was later awarded with the highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Obama in 2011. Her list of friends over the years reads like a who’s who of recent history. It includes the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Oprah Winfrey to name a few. Maya Angelou was more than just a poet in her lifetime. Some of her other jobs over the years included becoming the first black female streetcar operator in San Francisco, a Tony-nominated actress, and college professor.  She even spent some time dabbling in music releasing a calypso album in 1957 appropriately titled Miss Calypso.

Maya Angelou’s work not only told her story, but also imparted life lessons upon her readers. This was even the case with her final twitter post last Friday, tweeting out, “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.” It is my belief that Maya Angelou made the world a better place to live in, and with her words living on in her work for generations to come it will continue to become a better place moving forward.

With Maya Angelou’s passing I thought it would be appropriate to remember a song that appeared in the 1993 film Poetic Justice, which features poetry written by Angelou. The song is “Again” by Janet Jackson who also starred in the film alongside fellow artist Tupac Shakur. “Again” played over the closing credits and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, though it was not included on the film’s official soundtrack. It served instead as a song on Jackson’s fifth studio album Janet. “Again” was a huge hit for Jackson and spent two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also had two video’s released in support of the song, one being of Jackson writing in a diary about a lost love with flashbacks with her lover tossed in while the second version is similar but also includes a television streaming scenes from Poetic Justice.

So with the world losing one of it’s greatest literary minds this week in Maya Angelou, we look back this week on Janet Jackson’s “Again” from the film Poetic Justice. Enjoy!

Janet Jackson 

“Again” (Poetic Justice Version)

From Janet (Featured In Columbia Pictures’ Poetic Justice)

Virgin Records

Poetic Justice Trailer
Columbia Pictures 

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