By Chiefs Anye and Oju
Hollywood is the largest and most effective propaganda arm of the settler-colonial, imperialist beast that is the united snakes. None of its productions—including ones with a colonized cast—can be divorced from the legacy of imperialism and Colonialism that this country proudly boasts.
As a Hollywood spectacle, ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ wasn’t nearly as bad as expected. It could be criticized for the acting in the third act, and some technical decisions could be criticized under the colonial standards for film, but at Black Hammer, we hold no interest in that. We just care about the subject. With that in mind, even expecting it to be far worse than it was, many revolutionaries have chalked up to a film not intended for Colonized people but white parasitic consumption of African trauma and death.
Which is true.
…but maybe we should go deeper.
One of the more important things to note is that this movie is NOT about Fred Hampton; rather, it centers around FBI informant and all-around rat William O’Neal. Off rip, they want the viewer to garner sympathy towards this character, which is confirmed with several scenes of O’Neal having internal struggles around being a rat.
In the film, he faces no material consequences for selling out the revolution to avoid prison time. Almost as if the film wants Colonized people to internalize that being a rat is acceptable. While his suicide is mentioned at the end, it is not a part of the film, and it is chalked up to him having a guilty conscience—an examination of history would say that’s a consequence of working with the feds.
We were never expecting colonial Hollywood to make a true depiction of Fred Hampton’s life and role as a revolutionary. However, this only further begs the question of why they would make this movie. The Panther’s politics is never centered in the film but rather thrown to the audience as bits and pieces. A lot of buzzwords are thrown around, leaving people to associate them with revolution.
In drawing back to how this film exploits the tragedy of Fred Hampton’s murder and other state attacks on the Black Panther Party, this movie was an effective threat to the masses. A threat that said if you spit revolutionary politics, the pigs and the alphabet boys will come to get you. A threat that says to us “Colonized resistance ends in death.”
To further draw people away from joining the revolution, the film inaccurately depicts the principled relationship of Fred Hampton and Akua Njeri. There are several scenes where Njeri expresses concerns about Fred Hampton’s safety and ability to be a father and asks him to draw back from the revolution. While her concerns might have been accurate, she would never have asked him to put their subjective relationship over their relationship with the masses—another lesson the film seems to want people to internalize. Not only this, it teaches that the revolution will destroy the colonized family—raising concerns from friends and loved ones of Colonized people who may be revolutionaries.
This movie wouldn’t have even been made two years ago. The state knows that conditions for colonized people are worsening every day under the oppressive boot of Colonialism. They anticipate more and more uprisings and organization of colonized people worldwide. They are scared. Scared enough to put this threat of a film out through their most effective propaganda machine. The arrogance! The united snakes will assassinate liberation fighters in cold-blood, acknowledge and admit it in public documents that are easily accessible online, refuse to reckon with it, then allow the propaganda industries to make movies around the subject.
We don’t even have an official biography of Fred Hampton’s life, but you bet we have an entire multi-million dollar film about the rat who helped destabilize the organization, while there are Black Panthers alive today that STILL rot in prison and/or are suffering & poor ‘til this day!
When Colonized people unite and pool their resources to form a propaganda arm of truth, one not owned and controlled by Colonialism, the people’s truth will be made available. We will get accurate depictions of the lives and legacies of those who were martyred for the revolution. We will get entertainment that upholds love for the people and the land, rather than the colonial values of wealth and exploitation.
Black Hammer has already started doing this. We have an entire committee dedicated to making entertainment and art for Colonized people worldwide in our Music Acting and Dance committee (MAD). If you are a colonized person who wants to use your creativity to further the revolution and not for the colony, join Black Hammer today and ask about M.A.D.
Power to the People! RIP Fred Hampton.
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