Judas and the Black Messiah host media experience for HBCUs

Judas and the Black Messiah host media experience for HBCUs

Alexis Davis, Contributor

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. recently collaborated with their college ambassadors to bring students a three-part experience from surrounding the movie Judas and the Black Messiah including exclusive early access to the film, various panel discussions on Feb. 2, and roundtable engagements on Feb. 6.

Shaka King brings Judas and the Black Messiah to the big screen to show audiences how William O’Neal infiltrated the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party after being offered a plea deal by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to provide intelligence on Chairman Fred Hampton. 

This film stars Daniel Kaluuya from Queen and Slim and Get Out as well as Lakeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback, Ashton Sanders, and Martin Sheen. The exclusive early access code was given to college students across the nation to show appreciation for their hard work and dedication to their studies. 

After viewing the film, students were invited to attend the virtual summit with the film’s main actors. As the summit progressed, a variety of themes from the movie were discussed including legacy, history, pop culture impact, art, and betrayal. 

The events were moderated by Baratunde Thurston, Jimmie Briggs, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Elaine Welteroth, and Khai Davenport. All of the moderators are well-known African-American journalists and media personalities.

During the summit, Daniel Kaluuya shared how his role in the film was not just another job to add to his resume, but an overall experience for self-reflection.

“I took away from this role the power of loving yourself and loving the people that look like you,” Kaluuya said. “I hope this movie gives people the tools and strategy they need to liberate themselves internally.”

Fred Hampton has always been involved in socialist work to advance African-Americans. He was in his prime of being an activist in Chicago as a chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. The Black Panther Party was an organization that promoted self-defense and was founded by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton.

Hampton also alluded to the lessons he indirectly learned while being a part of watching the film come to life. Before filming, Hampton’s goal was to ensure his father’s story was being told accurately, Hampton walked away with a  greater understanding of the legend his father truly was.

“I learned lessons from the legend I was born to be,” Hampton said. “I always tell people stories about how when I was a youngster, I was accused of trying to be too powerful by talking with my hands, but I saw how the film emphasized my father’s use of gestures when he spoke and was empowered to express myself however I see fit.”

On Feb 6, Warner Bros. gave African-American student journalists from all over the east coast a chance to engage with the stars from Judas and the Black Messiah in a roundtable setting. 

Kayla Grant, a student at Clark Atlanta University inquired about Kaluuya’s preparation for the role and the various speeches written by Hampton Sr. he reviewed to best portray him.

“For me, Hampton’s thoughts on being aware really stuck with me,” Kaluuya said. “Hampton talks about how we should not blame the person who awakened you by setting the fire, but if you do not like your current conditions, you must do the work yourself and not project your negative feelings onto others.”

Trevonae Williams, a student at Howard University mentioned how Fred Hampton Sr. was only 21 when he was at the forefront of many historical events and asked Kaluuya what he thinks the current generation should learn from his efforts at such an early age. 

“It is less about what you, personally, can do but about how you see yourself and what you are capable of,” Kaluuya said. “It is all about the narrative you tell yourself, if you say to yourself that you can then you will be able to succeed.”

Judas and The Black Messiah will debut concurrently in select theaters and HBO Max on Feb. 12.