Flashback Friday: "Scream" Michael & Janet Jackson

Scream - Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
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Scream was the lead single from Michael Jacksons ninth studio album, HIStory, Past, Present and Future, Book 1.

“Scream” is cited primarily as an retaliatory song directed at the tabloid media and their coverage of the child sexual abuse accusations made against Michael Jackson in 1993 by Jordan Chandler as well as media coverage of his marriage to Lisa Marie Presley.

Janet didn’t face as much scrutiny, although she did approach her brother’s notoriety in 2004 when her breast was revealed during a performance at halftime of the Super Bowl. “Scream”was written, composed and produced by Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson; Michael played many of the instruments.

This was the only song Michael did with his little sister, Janet other than PYT (Pretty Young Thing).


At the time, the video was the most expensive ever made, costing $7 million. Directed Mark Romanek, it won a Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video. The space-themed video was inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Jean Cocteau’s 1929 novel Les Enfants Terribles, about two troubled siblings.

Romanek wasn’t short on cash for the clip, but he was short on time. “We couldn’t go to the ‘spaceship location’… so we had to build one,” said Romanek. “We were only given two weeks to design and construct a dozen pretty large-scale sets. The only way to get it done was to throw manpower and lumber and money at the problem.”

To Romanek’s surprise, the easiest part of making the video was working with the sibling superstars.

He told Rolling Stone: “[Michael and Janet] obviously had a deep affection and love for one another and were very excited to finally dance together on camera for the first time. There was some very healthy and good-natured sibling rivalry going on there in that scene.

I was surprised by how normal, likable, and approachable he was.



I spent a good deal of time with him in his trailer and between takes just talking about hobbies and movies and various random topics. He was very charming, in that he seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say and my opinions about things.

Arianne Suggs is the founder of 1966 Magazine. I love to write about fashion, beauty, lifestyle, fitness and travel. Join me on my journey.