Without question, “Judas and the Black Messiah” is one of this year’s most highly anticipated films.
The project, co-written and directed by Shaka King, is a star-studded story of betrayal ― here, the killing of Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) as told by Bill O’Neal (Lakeith Stanfield), the police informant who did him in.
Hampton’s killing by Chicago police is a story familiar to many, but in “Judas,” depictions of Hampton’s surroundings during that period ― aswirl with friends, family and foes ― add color to an iconic figure we often experience through black-and-white photos and video. That’s why we were so hyped to welcome this week’s guest, Dominique Fishback. In “Judas,” Dominique stars as Deborah Johnson (who now goes by the name Akua Njeri), Fred Hampton’s fiancee, political partner and the mother of Fred Hampton Jr. In her scenes, Fishback makes clear that Johnson was not a role-player in anyone’s story ― she was an activist in her own right whose teachings guided Hampton and the Black Panther Party spiritually.
“Judas” debuts Friday on HBO Max and in select theaters, so we were eager to talk with Fishback about what she felt preparing for the role, what kind of coaching she received from Njeri, and the kind of love she wanted to convey between her and Hampton.
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