“Judas and the Black Messiah” Fights for Change

Alex Joaquin, Staff Writer

“You can murder a revolutionary, but you can’t murder a revolution.” Powerful words said by actor David Kaluuya who plays Fred Hampton in the newly released historical drama, “Judas and the Black Messiah.” 

Starring Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield as William O’Neal, the film revolves around the true story of O’Neal, an FBI informant, and his betrayal of the Black Panthers Party leader in the late 60’s. It was written and directed by Shaka King. Nominated for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for both Kaluuya and Stanfield. 

The Black Panthers Party was an African American organization founded by Bobby Seale and Heuy Newton to promote social change. 

This film is about the impact of institutional racism on two different men that focuses on problems that, unfortunately, still occur in this day and age.

Kaluuya is the perfect choice to play the revolutionary Hampton who worked to give people the tools to free themselves with education, food, and legal aid. 

Kaluuya took his performance to heart and honors the role of playing a historical figure from the Black Power Movement. Every scene he is in is very touching and moves the audience with how much he is doing to help his community. 

The highlight of the film was the acting of Stanfield as O’Neal. He does an outstanding job where you can see that his character is clearly having internal conflicts with himself from the beginning. All of this is captured with the emotion on his face and how he delivers his lines. 

Standield’s character got a thrill out of having people trust him and playing with their trust. His character is like an actor, to an extent, which makes it a flawless performance. 

King’s vision truly comes to life and is shown when all the conflicts on screen were felt by the actors which enhances their performances. That is a testament to the world that Shaka created. 

Some people may hate the idea of O’Neal being the main character in this story, but I believe it was a great choice. To tell this story, it had to be done with both perspectives, not just with Hampton.

That is what makes this movie unforgettable. 

Political and social groups continue the ongoing protest against police brutality on black people and this impactful film shows these early real life events that focus on problems that are, unfortunately, still occurring in this day and age. 

King’s vision truly shows and should be at the top of everyone’s list to see.