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‘Judas and The Black Messiah’ Review: Exploring the Intricate Parts of the Black Panther Movement

By Betti Halsell

There is a preconceived notion about the Black Panther Party in the 1960s. They are shown as being aggressive, mass media has labeled them as radical and domestic terrorists. In the prime of their revolutionary movement, they are seen holding guns with a stoic look of no remorse, and hatred in their eyes.

Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah explores the intricate parts of the organization, painting a picture of the day-to-day lifestyle of an activist. King focused on Chairman Fred Hampton played by Daniel Kaluuya, and how he balanced radical change while supporting an underrepresented community. He also uncovers a story of betrayal among the ranks in the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party.

Lakeith Stanfield plays William O’Neal, a man who seemed to have a deep fear of anyone having too much power. Heavily invested in the movement, O’Neal worked his way up to being the Black Panther security captain, but his alliance begins to fade as he became an FBI informant. His actions disrupted the Black Panther movement in the Illinois chapter, as O’Neal provided intel to FBI agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons).

O’Neal is tasked with getting close to the Illinois Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton. What becomes apparent is the internal battle O’Neal suffered, knowing that life as a Black man is unfair, is the very reason he may be inclined to join forces with federal organizations to cover himself. It’s a paradox he never escapes from. 

King included all angles of being an activist in the film, highlighting the human side. There are scenes in the trailer, showing panthers not wearing black or holding guns, but in bright colors, feeding the community and teaching the youth about their power. The director also follows Chairman Fred Hampton, as he falls in love with fellow revolutionary mind, Deborah Johnson (Dominique Fishback).

The Black Panther organization grew out of the Bay area and spread throughout the nation. There were parts of the Black Panther Movement that were unearthed in the film that included: administration, housing and education, and community building.

If one did not dig deeper into their history, mass media would depict a picture that leaves one to fear this organization. King broke through the negative mold of who the Black Panther members were and showed them in a different light. 

The Judas And the Black Messiah press summit dissected the narration of this story, hosted by entertainment journalist, Gia Peppers, explored parts of the Black Panther narrative from the eyes of the Hampton household. Viewers heard from the original Deborah Johnson, who went by Mother Akua.

 She confirmed that Fishback captured her essence as a fighter, but also as a strong woman that stood behind a great man. In reflection of Fishback’s portrayal of her, Mother Akua stated, “When I saw Daniel and Dominique in that movie, I hadn’t realized how much I missed the love and camaraderie. They had real chemistry …”

This two-hour historical drama and biography was written by Will Berson and produced by Ryan Coogler and Charles D. King. In addition to directing the film, Shaka King was a part of writing and producing as well. The streaming release is set for February 12, depicting the authentic story of the Black Panther Movement. Showing that even within the fight for equality as a group, the misguided representation will live in the crevasses of the collective community. One can watch the unfiltered truth of the revolution on HBO Max. 

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Film & Television

Tati Gabrielle Stars as The Main Antagonist In ‘Uncharted’ Live-Action Movie

Inspired by the best-selling PlayStation video game franchise, Uncharted introduces audiences to the young street-smart Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) and showcases his first treasure hunting adventure with wisecracking partner Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg). In an action-adventure epic, the two go in the dangerous pursuit of “the greatest treasure never found” while also tracking clues that may lead to Nathan’s long-lost brother.

Tati Gabrielle stars as the movie’s female lead, the antagonist named Braddock. There is not much known about her character at this time, except that the fans can not wait to get a closer introduction.

Uncharted will play exclusively in movie theaters on February 18. Watch the full trailer below.

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Film & Television

‘Family Reunion’ Renewed For 3rd and Final Season

Family Reunion Renewed For Final Season

Netflix has renewed the two-time NAACP Image Award-winning family comedy series ‘Family Reunion’ for a third final season.

The show follows the McKellans who move from Seattle to Georgia to be closer to their grandparents. The family of six, however, struggles to make a smooth transition from the big city to small-town life in the South.

The sitcom stars Loretta Devine, Tia Mowry-Hardrict (Sister Sister), Anthony Alabi, Talia Jackson, Isaiah Russell-Bailey, Cameron J. Wright, Jordyn Raya James, and Richard Roundtree.

“I am so excited that Family Reunion will be returning for a third season,” series creator Meg DeLoatch told Deadline. “I will always be grateful to Netflix for giving me the opportunity to finally tell my story and the platform to share the beautiful, loving, and joyous McKellan family with the world.”

The final season will have 10 episodes.

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Film & Television

‘Bruised’: Watch Trailer For Halle Berry’s Directorial Debut

Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry directs and stars in a new Netflix mixed martial arts drama, Bruised.

The story follows Jackie Justice (Berry), a mixed martial arts fighter who leaves the sport in disgrace. Down on her luck and simmering with rage and regret years after her last fight, she’s coaxed into a brutal underground fight by her manager and boyfriend Desi (Adan Canto) and grabs the attention of a fight league promoter (Shamier Anderson) who promises Jackie a life back in the octagon. But the road to redemption becomes unexpectedly personal when Manny (Danny Boyd, Jr.) — the son she gave up as an infant — shows up at her doorstep.

Bruised also stars Adriane Lenox, Sheila Atim, Valentina Shevchenko, and Stephen McKinley Henderson.

The film is slated to release in theaters on Nov. 17 before dropping on Netflix on Nov. 24. Watch the trailer above.

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