*Chairman Fred Hampton was 21 years old when he was assassinated by the FBI, who coerced a petty criminal named William O’Neal to help them silence him and the Black Panther Party. But they could not kill Fred Hampton’s legacy and, 50 years later, his words still echo…louder than ever.
I am a revolutionary!
In 1968, a young, charismatic activist named Fred Hampton became Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, who were fighting for freedom, the power to determine the destiny of the Black community, and an end to police brutality and the slaughter of Black people.
Chairman Fred was inspiring a generation to rise up and not back down to oppression, which put him directly in the line of fire of the government, the FBI and the Chicago Police. But to destroy the revolution, they had to do it from both the outside…and the inside. Facing prison, William O’Neal is offered a deal by the FBI: if he will infiltrate the Black Panthers and provide intel on Hampton, he will walk free. O’Neal takes the deal.
Now a comrade in arms in the Black Panther Party, O’Neal lives in fear that his treachery will be discovered even as he rises in the ranks. But as Hampton’s fiery message draws him in, O’Neal cannot escape the deadly trajectory of his ultimate betrayal.
Though his life was cut short, Fred Hampton’s impact has continued to reverberate. The government saw the Black Panthers as a militant threat to the status quo and sold that lie to a frightened public in a time of growing civil unrest. But the perception of the Panthers was not reality. In inner cities across America, they were providing free breakfasts for children, legal services, medical clinics and research into sickle cell anemia, and political education. And it was Chairman Fred in Chicago, who, recognizing the power of multicultural unity for a common cause, created the Rainbow Coalition—joining forces with other oppressed peoples in the city to fight for equality and political empowerment.
“Judas and the Black Messiah” stars Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out,” “Widows,” “Black Panther”) as Fred Hampton and LaKeith Stanfield (“Atlanta,” “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”) as William O’Neal. The film also stars Jesse Plemons (“Vice,” “Game Night,” “The Post”), Dominique Fishback (“The Hate U Give,” “The Deuce”), Ashton Sanders (“The Equalizer 2,” “Moonlight”) and Martin Sheen (“The Departed,” TV’s “The West Wing,” TV’s “Grace & Frankie”).
“Judas and the Black Messiah” is directed by Shaka King, marking his studio feature film directorial debut. The project originated with King and his writing partner, Will Berson, who co-wrote the screenplay, story by Berson & King and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas. King, who has a long relationship with filmmaker Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther,” “Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”), pitched the film to Coogler and Charles D. King (“Just Mercy,” “Fences”), who are producing the film. The executive producers are Sev Ohanian, Zinzi Coogler, Kim Roth, Poppy Hanks, Ravi Mehta, Jeff Skoll, Anikah McLaren, Aaron L. Gilbert, Jason Cloth, Ted Gidlow, and Niija Kuykendall.
The ensemble cast also includes Algee Smith (“The Hate U Give,” “Detroit”), Darrell Britt-Gibson (“Just Mercy,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), Dominique Thorne (“If Beale Street Could Talk”), Amari Cheatom (“Roman J. Israel, Esq.,” “Django Unchained”), Caleb Eberhardt (“The Post”), and Lil Rel Howery (“Get Out”).
The behind-the-scenes creative team includes director of photography Sean Bobbitt (“12 Years a Slave,” “Widows”), production designer Sam Lisenco (“Shades of Blue”), editor Kristan Sprague (“Random Acts of Flyness”) and costume designer Charlese Antoinette Jones (“Raising Dion”)
The film is a Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, in association with MACRO Films, Participant and BRON Creative, and will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Warner Bros. Pictures
Five Black NBA Players Meet with Pope Francis to Discuss Social Justice Issues (Watch)
*Five NBA players and several officials from the National Basketball Players Association met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday to discuss their work on social justice issues.
The trip was prompted by the Vatican reaching out to the players’ union to learn about their work for social change. The delegation included Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac, Houston Rockets wing Sterling Brown and free agents Anthony Tolliver, Marco Belinelli and Kyle Korver. They gave the Pope an Orlando Magic jersey and a golden basketball.
After the meeting in the papal library of the Apostolic Palace, Tolliver called it an “incredible experience.” He added, “With the Pope’s support and blessing, we are excited to head into this next season reinvigorated to keep pushing for change and bringing our communities together.”
Korver, a 17-year NBA veteran who wrote a powerful essay about racism and white privilege last year, echoed Tolliver’s sentiment after meeting with the pope.
“We are extremely honored to have had this opportunity to come to the Vatican and share our experiences with Pope Francis,” Korver said. “His openness and eagerness to discuss these issues was inspiring and a reminder that our work has had a global impact and must continue moving forward.”
Images from the meeting showed Pope Francis and the players sitting and standing next to each other, but not wearing masks. The players union tweeted that “players and NBPA staff members were required to undergo COVID-19 testing before meeting with Pope Francis.”
Watch video from the historic meeting below:
The gathering comes ahead of the December 1 release of Francis’ new book, “Let Us Dream: The Path to A Better Future.” In it, Francis supports demands for racial justice in the wake of the police-custody death of George Floyd.
TRAILER DEBUT: ‘MLK/FBI’ | Directed By Emmy Award-Winner Sam Pollard | Opens January 15
*SYNOPSIS: MLK/FBI is an essential expose of the surveillance and harassment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (labeled by the FBI as the “most dangerous” Black person in America), undertaken by J. Edgar Hoover and the U.S. government.
Based on newly discovered and declassified files, as well as revelatory restored footage, the documentary explores the government’s history of targeting Black activists.
Directed by Emmy® Award-winner and Oscar®-nominee Sam Pollard, MLK/FBI recounts a tragic story with searing relevance to our current moment.
DIRECTOR: Sam Pollard is an Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated director and producer. His films for HBO,PBS, and the Discovery Channel include the documentaries Four Little Girls, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, Slavery by Another Name, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I Gotta Be Me, ACORN and the Firestorm, Why We Hate, and Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children. Pollard also directed two episodes of the groundbreaking series Eyes on the Prize II. Since 1994 Pollard has served on the faculty of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and lives in New York City.
RIVETING. A timely reminder that King’s struggle for racial justice wasn’t straightforward, nor is it close to complete.” – THE ATLANTIC, David Sims
“An engrossing, unsettling documentary. Rigorously focused on the facts of the past, the movie is also as timely as an alarm clock.”- THE NEW YORK TIMES, A.O. Scott
“SEARING. Serves as a chilling reminder that white supremacy is not solely a partisan problem; it’s a cruelty baked into the fabric of our political system, poisoning it at every level. Change comes when we allow ourselves to challenge the stories we have been told about our history.” – THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, Jourdain Searles
Director: Sam Pollard
Producer: Benjamin Hedin
Executive Producers: David Friend, Charlotte Cook, Jeffrey Lurie, Marie Therese Guirgis, Kate Hurwitz, Dana O’Keefe, and Steven Farneth
Runtime: 102 Minutes
Distributor: IFC Films
HBO’s ’40 Years a Prisoner’ Doc Follows Son’s Effort to Free Parents Imprisoned after MOVE Bombing (Trailer)
*On the morning of August 8, 1978, the Philadelphia Police Department, at the direction of hardline Mayor Frank Rizzo, engaged in a confrontation with the radical Black organization MOVE and fired thousands of rounds of ammunition into the West Philadelphia home of the social justice group. When the smoke cleared, a police officer named James Ramp had been killed and an unarmed MOVE member named Delbert Africa had been beaten to within an inch of his life by three police officers.
Delbert and his wife Debbie Africa were imprisoned for the cop’s death that day. Their son, Mike Africa Jr., has committed his life to finding out the truth about what really happened and fighting for the release of the parents that he has only ever known through prison walls.
His journey is chronicled in HBO’s feature documentary “40 Years a Prisoner,” debuting Tuesday, December 8 (9:00-10:50 p.m. ET/PT). Using eyewitness accounts and archival footage, the film illuminates the story of a city grappling with racial tension and police brutality with alarming topicality and modern-day relevance.
The documentary was directed by Tommy Oliver and executive produced by Common and Get Lifted Film Co.’s Mike Jackson, John Legend and Ty Stikloriusm with original music by The Roots.
Watch the first official trailer below:
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