There’s no doubt when you hear the name The Black Panthers you imagine images of a militant organization. That’s what the media has portrayed the grass roots movement as for decades and there’s been very little to give another perspective. But is that what happened inside the Black Panther movement, or was the it more of the response of the times to a group that challenged the status quo?
This week, Warner Brothers brought Judas and the Black Messiah to the screen and to HBO Max. The film focuses on the true story of William O’Neal who is turned into an FBI informant and infiltrates the Black Panthers in Chicago. Similar to the story in BlacKkKlansman, the story shows the inside of the extreme organizations from an outsiders perspective.
The language in Judas the Black Messiah is jarring, especially through today’s lens. And the violence and almost military tactics taken against people who are just fighting for their rights seems to mirror some of the violence seen in the past year. The movie isn’t easy to watch, and it actually took me a couple times to watch through it. But the story is one that needs to be told. It shows what really happened, why people were drawn to the organization and the need for it to even exist.
Will Judas and the Black Messiah change your mind on the Black Panther organization and how media has portrayed them? Honestly, probably not. Some of their tactics were extreme and seem like indoctrination even in this film. But it also highlights the good the organization did in their communities, their struggle for equality and what the real reason they existed was.
The movie is not easy to watch, but is a story that needs to be told. It can help shed light on a often misunderstood organization but also current fights for equality as well. Judas and the Black Messiah is currently in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.
About Judas and the Black Messiah:
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH is a taut dramatic thriller that unfolds the story of the shocking assassination of inspirational Black Panther party leader, Chairman Fred Hampton in Chicago, at the hands of William O’Neal – a reluctant pawn for the FBI, posing as an ally. Stars LaKeith Stanfield, Daniel Kaluuya, Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback, Martin Sheen. Directed by Shaka King.(WARNER BROS.)This film is rated R.