On February 12, 2021, we finally saw the movie based on the life of the chairman of the Black Panther Party ‘Fred Hampton’ titled ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’. It focuses on how he was betrayed at the hands of an FBI informant William O’Neil in late 1960s Chicago. The movie was directed and co-wrote by the debutant director Shaka King and it stars Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback, Ashton Sanders, Dominque Thorne, and Martin Sheen.
The biopic based on Fred Hampton has been worked with many directors who have given the interest to direct this project since 2014. F. Gary Gray almost made this film but the project got delayed and was abandoned until King was hired to direct and co-wrote the screenplay.
The movie was critically acclaimed, which appraised the direction of King and the performances of both Kaluuya and Stanfield. The movie has currently 94% on rotten tomatoes and rated 85% on Metacritic. The movie has been nominated for 6 academy awards, with both Kaluuya and Stanfield received the nomination for best-supporting actors.
Who is Fred Hampton?
Fred Hampton was a social activist, Marxist, and revolutionist who became the chairman of the “Black Panther Movement”. He founded the rainbow coalition movement, a prominent multicultural movement made up of all the races whose common goal is to end the injustice and infighting among the group. He was a charismatic and voice for not only the black people but also the people who suffered injustices. Fred had an experience when he was beaten and lynched by a group of white men, at that time he became well aware of racism and injustice that followed against the people of a different color.
When he turned 18 he joined the “National Association for the Advancement of Colored People” (NAACP) to make a difference. He became fascinated with the communists and Marxist ideology, the revolutionist Che Guevara and Mao Zedong. He became aware of the struggle of the third world countries, not only he protested against the Vietnam War but also for the North’s victory.
He actively participated in Chicago where he serves as the chairman of “Black Panther Party”. He organized rallies against the corruption and racism. He was a voice and was praised worldwide because of the charisma; he won over his rival gang to form an army against the capitalistic state.
FBI deemed him as a threat to the state and wanted to eliminate him whatever the circumstances were, so the informant hired by the agent betrayed him by giving him the drug where he slept in the apartment and he was shot by police raid in the state of unconsciousness.
About the movie
This film was about the final days of Fred Hampton, in which how he rose to the prominence and fame, how FBI deemed him as a threat and eliminated him. The film focuses on William O’Neil on betraying Fred and how he was blackmailed by him, he was just doing his duty. It could be one of the historical accurate film where they showed from the formation of the coalition to the arrest of Fred and even the interview from the William O’Neil. The film was marketed very well by “WB” showing the trailers and teaser for the eventual release of the movie.
The film is a bleak depiction of betrayal and loss on what revolution brings. There is a price that everyone must pay if you want to change the world. There are many racial movies made by Hollywood till now, where the topic was always about prejudice and violent. These movies are not about entertainment but as a voice to make people aware that there are many things happening in this world, Judas and the Black Messiah was one of them.
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