The official trailer for Judas and the Black Messiah is here, and it looks like an intense, gripping story made all the more upsetting by the fact that it’s true. Produced by Ryan Coogler and directed by Shaka King, the biopic tells the story of prominent Black Panther Party activist Fred Hampton (Get Out‘s Daniel Kaluuya) and William O’Neal (Sorry to Bother You‘s Lakeith Stanfield) — the FBI informant who was coerced into spying on him.
Judas and the Black Messiah feels particularly pertinent now, with widespread protests have drawn the world’s attention to how police brutality and racism has shaped our society. It’s been over 50 years since Hampton and O’Neal’s story came to its head, but U.S. law enforcement still continues to surveil civil rights protests even today.”Judas and the black messiah” come with a stellar cast of mostly young Black actors, led by Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton and as William O’Neal.
The trailer emphasizes the juxtaposition between the two men by cutting between Hampton leading powerful chants at Black Panther meetings and O’Neal watching him nervously, painfully aware of what he must do. But they could not kill Fred Hampton’s legacy and, 50 years later, his words still echo…louder than ever: I am a revolutionary!
Fred Hampton was the Chairman of the Black Panthers’ Illinois chapter in 1969 where he not only called for a revolution against white supremacy in the US but also used his position to uplift the Black community and fight for its freedom.
Chairman Fred 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 Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Chicago Police. But to destroy the revolution, they had to do it from both the outside…and the inside. O’Neal became Hampton’s bodyguard and eventually provided the Federal Bureau of Investigation with enough intel to carry out a raid on Hampton’s home where he was killed on December 4, 1969. O’Neal takes the deal. William O’Neal is a petty criminal turned Federal Bureau of Investigation informant who infiltrates the Black Panther Party and gains its trust before committing the ultimate betrayal. But the perception of the Panthers was not reality. “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”.