The British actor plays Hampton, a mysterious protester and leader who was murdered by the FBI and Chicago Police in a joint raid in 1969. Here comes Judas and the Black Messiah.
Opposite him is Lakeith Stanfield as William O’Neal, the informant from the FBI who infiltrated the Black Panthers and provided information leading to the death of Hampton.
Judas and the Black Messiah
Called Judas and the Black Messiah, the film is scheduled to be released in early 2021-into a world that has irrevocably altered since shooting began in Ohio last September.
“We began doing it before the assassination of George Floyd and the resulting rebellions,” says producer and co-writer Shaka King.
Producer Ryan Coogler, who joined the project shortly after finishing the Black Panther Marvel movie, says the story of Hampton “becomes more important to context.”
“Some of the men who were responsible for that are still alive. Today, these policies are ever-present. These structures that the Chairman was battling to destroy-the relentless assaults on marginalizing people. Black people-are still here.
Hampton was a charismatic and energetic young man. Whose popularity with young activists led them as a sign of respect to call him “Chairman.”
Born in suburban Chicago. He led a successful effort to create a non-segregated talent pool in his neighborhood. Spearheading a student movement against a program that only allowed white girls to be eligible at his high school for the queen’s house.
He received more attention by joining the Illinois Black Panther Party. And also securing a truce between his party and two rival street gangs. And his physical appearance at rallies and gatherings saw him recognized as a potential leader.
Yet his rise to notoriety coincided with an FBI counterintelligence operation that was trying to undermine black nationalist groups. Director J Edgar Hoover also issued a directive ordering the office to this. “Prevent the emergence of a ‘messiah’ who can unify and electrify the militant black nationalist movement.”