Judas and the Black Messiah
“I am a Revolutionary”
These words have been echoing in my head since I watched this movie. If you don’t feel like you are a revolutionary, maybe you watched Malcolm & Marie.
This is a story about betrayal.
Based on true events, this film describes the events that led to the assassination of Fred Hampton by the FBI in 1969.
Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Fred Hampton were people who dared to challenge the treatment of Black folks in America and got killed for it. At the time of his death, Fred was the Chairman of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party(BPP).
Quick background on the BPP, they were a Black Power political organization that fought against police brutality and the oppression of Black people in America. After its inception, they became involved in community programs like providing healthcare services, free breakfast for children and were an advocate for class struggle.
Fred was so great at giving speeches and political rallies that the FBI; headed by J. Edgar Hoover, who I definitely think should be investigated for his abuse of power; thought it best to kill him.
Watching this movie was so triggering for me because today, 52 years after Fred’s assassination, we’re still fighting the same cause. The government is still trying to control its citizens.
This is so emotional to write because this shit is happening in Africa, particularly Nigeria. The government clamping down on the people they’re supposed to be serving, the police brutalizing innocent citizens because we want a better life for ourselves and our children, black people being oppressed just because of the color of our skin. Would it get better? Would the people overcome? That was Fred Hampton’s fight; to show the people that power belonged to them. He dared to change the narrative by being a revolutionary. So did Martin Luther King, so did Malcolm X. They were all assassinated by the same government but they sure as hell left a great legacy.
Daniel Kaluuya is such a brilliant actor. First let me just say that he’s British so you can comprehend how difficult portraying a 1960s Chicago accent is. When he gave the speech just after he was released from jail, I was in tears screaming “I am a revolutionary”. I haven’t watched any of Fred Hampton’s speeches, but I hear that Daniel was spot on and he gave such a powerful performance of him. You could tell that this was someone who was ready to live and die for the people, and he sure did.
Lakeith Stanfield played William O’Neal and he was phenomenal. Every twinkle in his eyes, every expression on his face, his body language showed you exactly what he was going through at each point in time. If you were to describe a rat to anyone, all you have to do is mention Lakeith from Judas and the Black Messiah. He was so good I almost hate him.
Everyone gave fantastic performances really. It’s difficult to watch this movie and not get triggered as a black person and as a Nigerian. It’s even worse knowing that the government, whose skin color is the same as ours treats its citizens like shit.
One day though, in my country, I hope to say that Power truly belongs to the people.
For now, enjoy my reviews.
I’ll rate it 8.5/10.