Historical events

“Judas and the Black Messiah” depicts tragic historical events and an accurate image of the Black Panther Party


The film by director Shaka King “Judas and the black Messiah,”Tells a story about the betrayal of FBI informant William O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) of Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party in 1969. This monumental film presents heart-wrenching real-world experiences which continue in today’s premieres in theaters and on streaming services like HBO Max on February 12.

Trailer courtesy of Warner Bros.

Stanfield and Kaluuya offer nuanced performances of their historical figures that take the viewer on a journey through the brutal relationship of the black community, especially the Black Panther Party, with law enforcement. The story is painful but necessary to tell when so many people need to understand why the fight against racism is of the utmost importance.

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Deborah Johnson, now known as Akua Njeri (Dominique Fishback), shines a light on the struggle of black women through the battle for fairness. Johnson shows humanity, like finding a romantic connection with President Fred Hampton, on the line during life’s most difficult times. Fishback performs with raw emotion and authenticity that exposes the viewer to real-life, relatable situations for women like Johnson.

(Lr) President Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) spends one of his rare moments with Deborah Johnson (Dominique Fishback) in Warner Bros. ‘Judas and the Black Messiah. Pictures. Image courtesy of Warner Bros.

Fishback said women are and always have been revolutionary and radical. “And I just want to make sure that I bring awareness to the fact that a lot of times in this genre, when it comes to love for black women, black women, are overlooked and not shown to be worthy.” love until we roll. dating a man in prison or during pregnancy. Only then were we engaged, and I wanted to make sure that wasn’t the narrative [and] that we know he loves her for his mind and his being, ”Fishback said.

Women are prominent Black Panther Party leaders in the film. Judy Harmon (Dominique Thorne) exemplifies this leadership when she was part of the Illinois section of the Black Panther Party security team. She orders party members to shoot and cover as they protect the chapter from law enforcement seeking to destroy the chapter’s brick and mortar outpost.

Thorne spoke about what it was like to represent Harmon when she said she made as much space as possible to demonstrate Harmon’s truth and the “valor or courage” she needed to protect. what she believes in. “I think every person, every person involved understood how important it was to get the truth about what the Black Panther Party really stood for and what it actually did, which [was] help communities start clinics, try to educate their population, [and] by making sure these are the things that shine, humanity shines through, ”Thorne said.

Every character in the film played an equally important role as the Black Panther Party was a strong, dedicated unit that mended communities when no one else would. History classes in high school didn’t always teach this (especially mine, as the author of this article) and often fed students lies about the identity of Black Panther Party members.

William O’Neal fought with whom he aligned himself because individuals complicit in systemic racism often seek and succeed in separating people from their communities under the pretext of protecting others, doing the right thing or, in the process. O’Neal’s case, to clear his file after criminal charges.

(Lr) FBI Agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons) and Bill O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) share details regarding President Fred Hampton. Image courtesy of Warner Bros.

Stanfield explained the importance of his role in “Judas and the Black Messiah” and the importance of Wiliam O’Neal’s role as a traitor and President Fred Hampton’s story of courage and sacrifice. “… I had to be brave in that role and play something that went against what I believed in, because if he [Chairman Fred Hampton] was able to die for it, so I should be able to play a role for it, ”Stanfield said.

Hampton was gunned down in his sleep on December 4, 1969, due to his extraordinary leadership in the Illinois Black Panther Party and his efforts to unite larger groups in Illinois black communities in their fight. The police sacked 90 shots in their efforts to assassinate Hampton.

Black communities across the country still fight for the fairness they deserve and still face police brutality similar to what Hampton has faced, especially in The case of Breonna Taylor and countless others.

King’s film “Judas and the Dark Messiah” is a must-see and could be one of the most important films to debut in 2021.


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