Judas and the Black Messiah

a/k/a  Jesus Was My Homeboy

Release Date:  2/1/21; Sundance Film Festival & 2/12/21; HBO Max
Genre:  Biography
Rating:  R
Director:  Shaka King
Studio(s):  Bron Creative, MACRO Participant, Warner Bros. Pictures
Running Time:  126 mins.

Cast:  Daniel Kaluuya (Fred Hampton), Lakeith Stanfield (William O’Neal), Jesse Plemons (Roy Mitchell), Dominique Fishback (Deborah Johnson), Ashton Sanders (Larry Roberson), Martin Sheen (J. Edgar Hoover), Algee Smith (Jake Winters), Lil Rel Howery (Brian), Jermaine Fowler (Mark Clark), Darrell Britt-Gibson (Bobby Rush), Robert Longstreet (Special Agent Carlyle).

Story:  The story follows the rise and demise of Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) as seen through the eyes of William O’Neal (Lakeith Stanfield), a petty criminal who cut a deal with the FBI to infiltrate the Panthers. O’Neal helped create rifts within the organization, kept tabs on Hampton and, when the time came, drugged the 21-year old activist on the night of the raid, which ultimately led to Hampton being gunned down by officers.

Details:  Chairman Fred Hampton was 21 years old when he was assassinated by the FBI, who coerced 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 became Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, 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.  The Chairman was inspiring a generation to rise up and not back down to oppression, which put him 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 both the outside…and the inside. Facing prison, William O’Neal is offered a deal by the FBI: 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 Hampton 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.  O’Neal was placed in federal witness protection after his role in the infamous raid was revealed. He reportedly died by suicide in 1990, aged 40.  Source(s):  msn.com; official site, judasandtheblackmessiah. Com; Wikipedia; Openroad.la; denofgeek.com.

Trailer: