Telling Fred Hampton’s story in ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’

The film’s star Daniel Kaluuya speaks about playing the Black Panther leader. Hampton’s then-fiancee Akua Njeri and their son Fred Hampton Jr. also speak about the movie.
7:20 | 03/26/21

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Transcript for Telling Fred Hampton’s story in ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’
50 years ago. On screen we go inside a movement many Americans misunderstood. Meet a man fewer still even knew, and we get to witness a performance by a young talent born an ocean away. I gave everything and I couldn't give it to them, chairman Fred Hampton. Reporter: Daniel kaluuya receiving his golden globe, honoring the fallen civil rights activist he portrayed, Fred Hampton, one of the leaders of the black panthers. The british-born kaluuya completely embodying the fiery American orator, digging deep to play the unflinching revolutionary, a controversial figure in what's become one of the movies of the year. These ain't no terrorists. Reporter: "Judas and the black messiah" explores Fred Hampton's brief and explosive life through a modern prism. At just 21, Hampton was an old soul, wise beyond his years. A warrior with a poet's heart. His rhetoric as relevant today as it was over 50 years ago. The connection to here and now, was that intentional? Or was coincidental? This is a stars align situation. There's many people that attempted to make chairman Fred's story. Black lives matter! Reporter: The film, released in the wake of a racial reckoning in America, call it kismet. Newfound box office clout just as new cries for racial justice are emerging. There's so many things that have to happen, business, industry, culturally. All these came to the fore. Oh, wow, we just made a film about these people, chairman Fred, the black panther party, and they articulate how everyone's feeling right now. Reporter: The panthers' image as a gun-toting militant group was only one side of a multi-colored and complicated house. Director/cowriter shaka king takes us inside, floorboards to ceiling, to see up close this 1960s American house often divided, frequently dangerous, always unapologetic. I think that the general public thinks that the black panther party were storming police precincts armed, storming the capitol armed, ready to go to war with the police and forces of the state. When the truth of the matter is that they were really interested in feeding kids through a breakfast program, building medical clinics in impoverished neighborhoods. Reporter: Nominated for five oscars, "Judas and the black messiah" making history with a team of all-black producers, breakout star kaluuya earning a nomination for best supporting It spoke to me. Chairman had words for feelings that I had. Pushed me and pushed my way of thinking, genuinely the way of thinking. Reporter: If Fred Hampton is the messiah, the FBI is the Roman empire. Our counterintelligence program must prevent the rise of a black messiah. Reporter: The film's judas, bill O'Neal, to get close to and ultimately betray the black panther leader in Chicago. Get good information, something nobody else knows, some kind of bonus or something? Well, I'm -- I'm counting on it, bill -- Walk me through one of the most powerful scenes in the film, the "I am a revolutionary" speech from the church pulpit. There's not a question of violence or nonviolence. It's a question of of fascism. You can't murder liberation. That's how he spoke, that's what he meant. And I believe that 52 years later, we are here talking about these words. Which is testament to what he is saying. Reporter: Kaluuya, the 52-year-old actor who grew up in public housing in London, staking a claim in Hollywood. Of all the muscular, important roles you've made, "Get out," "Black panther," chairman Fred Hampton, which has resonated the most? Chairman challenged my thinking. Professionally and personally. I want to share something with you. Reporter: Fundamental to telling the truth here, Fred Hampton's family. His then fiancee and son, chairman Fred Hampton Jr., who both consulted on set. A lot of misinformation had been put forth about the black panther party against chairman Fred. And so we had to -- I guess you'd say knock that down. I told Daniel, I said, oh, I ain't worried about you, you got this. I knew he had it. Just from talking about some of his life experiences and why he wanted to play chairman Fred. We were in former relationship. With not only script writers, producers, the cast. Reporter: The film evokes disturbing and all too familiar scenes of police brutality, - drawing parallels to the recent killings of unarmed black men and women in America. In the end, when chairman Fred Hampton is killed, for me in watching it, my mind immediately, unintentionally but immediately, went to breonna Taylor. I thought about George Floyd. These moment in current-day America where black people in encounters with police ends in the most violent and brutal day. Ends in murder. Call it the way it is, it's murder. Reporter: Asleep by chairman Fred's side, 8 November months pregnant, seeing that moment come to life on screen, too difficult to watch. I have not sat through the movie entirely. I'll get up and go to the bathroom so nobody will see me cry. I still have emotions about it still go through it, if you will. And that's something that will be with me for the rest of my life. Reporter: Though the police were never charged, the city of Chicago settling with survivors and family members for $1.8 million in 1983. Born less than a month after his father's killing, Hampton Jr., now 51, an activist like his father, serving as chairman of the black panther party cubs. We are the ideological offspring of that organization. Unfortunately, we are dealing with the same issues the black panther party had to deal with. Police brutality we refer to as police terrorism. Reporter: Jerri, a lifelong activist devoting herself to social justice causes in Chicago. I feel complete as a person when I'm doing this work. I used to make a joke and say that the spirit of chairman Fred would haunt me if in this period we haven't achieved freedom or power to the people has not become a reality. Reporter: The spirit of chairman Fred Hampton's life and work now resurrected in "Judas and the black messiah." Though he died young, the wisdom of his words proved prophetic. You can murder a revolutionary, but you can't murder revolution! "Judas and the black messiah" is now in theaters.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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