Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah, focusing on the assasination of Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton and the group’s infiltration, was supposed to be released last year before it got delayed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Amid this pandemic delay as an uprising against injustice.
Stars Ashton Sanders, Algee Smith, Dominique Thorne and Darrell Britt-Gibson spoke to Shadow and Act recently and gave their viewpoints on the film releasing not too long after the global police brutality and anti-racism protests that swept the globe.
“I think, the best word that I could use is one that’s recently begun circulating…is that it’s bittersweet,” said Thorne, who was recently cast as superhero RiRi Williams in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, beginning with Disney+’s Ironheart. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing to have experienced. And it’s such an honor and such a blessing. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that to have been able to step into these shoes and to highlight and to amplify this story that is so important. Shaka says all the time that he wanted to focus on how Chairman Fred lived. And I think that that is exactly what is done in the movie. But at the same time, it’s deeply troubling and shameful and sad to see that it is so relevant. And to see that in 2019, when we did this, that a year and a half, two years later, that it is just as poignant as it was 50 years ago. That’s wild.”
Sanders added, “It is unfortunate that we’re still having to go through this in real life. It’s not just in the film. It’s not just history. You have to take a step back and realize that, but also you have to understand that you’re coming together to create this piece of history and you’re telling it in the most authentic way, even if the authentic way to do it Is in relation to what’s going on in the world.”
Watch the full interview below, via Shadow and Act Live.