Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)
Judas and the Black Messiah is an Oscar-winning biography based on the true story of Fred Hampton, who at the age of 21 was assassinated by the FBI, who coerced a petty criminal named William O’Neal to help them silence him and the Black Panther Party. But they could not kill Fred Hampton’s legacy and, 50 years later, his words still echo…louder than ever.
“I am a revolutionary!”
In 1968, a young, charismatic activist named Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) became Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers, who were fighting for freedom, the power to determine the destiny of the Black community, and an end to police brutality and the slaughter of Black people.
Fred Hampton was inspiring a generation to rise up and not back down to oppression, which put him directly in the line of fire of the government, the FBI and the Chicago Police. But to destroy the revolution, they had to do it from the inside. Facing prison, William O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) is offered a deal by the FBII: if he will infiltrate the Black Panthers and provide intel on Hampton, he will walk free. O’Neal takes the deal.
Now a comrade in arms in the Black Panther Party, O’Neal lives in fear that his treachery will be discovered even as he rises in the ranks. But as Hampton’s fiery message draws him in, O’Neal cannot escape the deadly trajectory of his ultimate betrayal.
Though his life was cut short, Fred Hampton’s impact has continued to reverberate. The government saw the Black Panthers as a militant threat to the status quo and sold that lie to a frightened public in a time of growing civil unrest. But the perception of the Panthers was not reality. In inner cities across America, they were providing free breakfasts for children, legal services, medical clinics and research into sickle cell anemia, and political education. And it was Chairman Fred in Chicago, who, recognizing the power of multicultural unity for a common cause, created the Rainbow Coalition—joining forces with other oppressed peoples in the city to fight for equality and political empowerment.
Judas and the Black Messiah was nominated for 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Ultimately the film won Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Daniel Kaluuya) and Best Achievement in Music.
“Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield give award-worthy performances” The Guardian ★★★★
“Buoyed by a trio of standout performances, this freshly resonant thriller brings urgent life to one of the Black Panther movement’s greatest tragedies. Shaka King is a force to be reckoned with” EMPIRE ★★★★
“Daniel Kaluuya dazzles” The Telegraph ★★★★