Judas and the Black Messiah Premieres during Black History Month.

Judas and the Black Messiah, an American biographical drama was brought to big screens and HBO Max on February 12, right in the midst of Black History Month. The film details the life of Fred Hampton, chairman of the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s, and his betrayal at the hands of William O’Neal.

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One of the stars, Alysia Joy Powell, has already been recognized for her work as Mrs. Winters, mother of a 19-year-old Black panther member Jake Winters, played by Algee Smith. 

BELLA Magazine was able to talk to Alysia about the film.

What does Judas and the Black Messiah mean to you?
The title is so perfect because it describes the movie to a tee. It’s about the ultimate act of betrayal. Someone you trusted configures your demise. You usually don’t see it coming. It also represents our power as a people, the possibilities of unity, and taking back our communities.

What does Black History Month mean to you?
It doesn’t mean a lot to me because I celebrate my history and my people all the time. I don’t segregate my existence to one month out of the year. I’m important to this life every day.

What can you tell me about your time working on this film?
It was a joy and a weight. I represent the mothers that have lost children to forward thinking, police brutality, and conscious reform. I didn’t take the responsibility lightly. Jake Winters is not a fictional character and the day we were shooting, the Botham Jean verdict was coming in. I took all of those things with me and it’s what you see on film. I’m so proud to be a part of this project. It is stellar from the Director, Shaka King, who was very generous and left so much room for creativity, to this amazing cast, the Writers, Will Beron and The Lucas Brothers, to the Producing Team of Charles King and Ryan Coogler. We’re making history for Fred Hampton, his family, and the Black Panther Party.

Is there anything readers of BELLA should know about you or your work?
Keep your eye on me. I have a lot more living and artistry to do.

Judas and the Black Messiah is on HBO Max and in theaters now. 

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