So, like I always say, I’m going to try and keep this post short today. The fact of the matter is, Judas and the Black Messiah is a great fucking movie, son. All I know is, Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield took turns putting on acting clinics in this shit. Real talk, after watching the film, my wife and I debated who’s the real focus of the plot. I mean, it’s hard to look away from Fred Hampton, but William O’Neal‘s story is equally as compelling, man. In any case, I just want to give credit where credit is due, fam. Shaka King did the damn thing with this film, bruh.
Ok, for those who are unaware, Judas and the Black Messiah dropped last week on HBO Max and in select theaters. The film chronicles O’Neal’s troubles with the law and how the FBI, namely Roy Mitchell, use him to infiltrate and destabilize Hampton and the Chicago faction of the Black Panther Party. Thanks to O’Neal’s informant-ass ratting, the Bureau is able to not only lock Hampton up over some bullshit, but eventually plan his execution. All in all, O’Neal leaves a lot of devastation in his wake.
Now, I could go on and on about what I love about the film, but I’ll just leave everyone with three takeaways (two about the film and one about the real story). First, I’m amazed by Kaluuya’s ability to not only embody Hampton’s personality, but also his vocal inflections. Son, it’s absolutely spooky that he can be that accurate. Frankly, it’s always a good time when I forget the actor and become fully-immersed in the character. Second, Stanfield does a fantastic job of leaving me confused. On the real, I can’t reconcile whether O’Neal really believes in the work that he’s doing or if he’s just playing the snitch for survival. All I can say is, Stanfield does an incredible job of making O’Neal seem ambiguous. Regardless, fuck William O’Neal.
Moving on, my third point relates to the actual story. Keeping it a buck, the film just highlights something that I’ve always felt: J. Edgar Hoover fucking won, man. Thanks to COINTELPRO, he was able to destabilize every Black movement in America. From Hampton to Martin Luther King Jr. to Malcolm X to Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and Eldridge Cleaver, Hoover was able to successfully destroy all of these movements from the inside. His fear of a “Black messiah” inspired him to decimate any group that strived for Black upliftment. The way I see it, the FBI can try to rebrand all they want, but their story is rooted in the oppression of Black people. That’s just a fucking fact, fam.
In the end, everybody should go watch the movie, bruh. Ultimately, it’s masterfully done and the real tale is incredibly infuriating. By and by, Hampton was right, son. At the end of the day, they can murder a revolutionary, but they can’t murder revolution. Always remembers that. That is all. LC out.