Judas and the Black Messiah, Explained - Self-Preservation Won’t Save You

Judas and the Black Messiah, starring Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield, uses a spin on the biblical story of Judas to challenge and reclaim the mainstream historical narrative of the Black Panther Party. The film shows Chairman Fred Hampton as a Jesus-like healer bringing a radically loving, unifying message to the people in the 1960s. Meanwhile, his Judas-like betrayer Bill O’Neal is portrayed as a tool of the FBI, the greater White establishment, and capitalism itself. The story encourages us to rethink all that we’ve been taught about the villains and victims of history, as well as about the present systems we accept and live under. Most of all, it warns us to avoid a mindset of self-preservation and apathy: because seeing yourself as not part of the fight for change amounts to helping keep things the way they are.