Artist Noname: Fred Hampton’s Politics Are Not Centered In Hollywood Movie, Led Me To Pass On Soundtrack

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Written by Ann Brown
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Artist Noname: Fred Hampton’s Politics Are Not Centered In Hollywood Movie, Led Me To Pass On Soundtrack. Photo: Fred Hampton: At a rally outside the U.S. Courthouse October 29, 1969 (AP Photo/stf)/ Photo: Noname performs at FYF Fest Day 2 at Exposition Park on Saturday, July 22, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Invision/AP)

The much-anticipated upcoming Fred Hampton biopic, “Judas and the Black Messiah,” centers around Fred Hampton, the past chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, and his betrayal by FBI informant William O’Neal. 

Moviegoers are also eager to hear the Warner Bros film’s soundtrack, which features tracks from BJ the Chicago Kid, Black Thought, H.E.R., and the first-ever collaboration between Jay-Z and Nipsey Hussle. 

The CD was supposed to also include political hip-hop artist Noname, but she turned down the chance to be involved after she disagreed with the focus of the film, OkayPlayer reported.

Noname tweeted that she hoped the film would inspire a renewed interest in Hampton, but she was unhappy with the lack of content in the film, which stars Daniel Kaluuya as Hampton. LaKeith Stanfield portrays O’Neal.

Although Hampton is a focal point of the film, the movie is not touted as a strict biopic, Complex reported. The film’s goal is to depict how FBI informant O’Neal helped authorities infiltrate the Illinois Black Panther Party and how this led to Hampton’s death. O’Neal was third in command of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panthers. Hampton led the chapter from 1966 to 1969.

Hampton was assassinated in a home by Chicago police on Dec. 4, 1969. Though just 21 years old when he was killed, Hampton became one of the most respected and dynamic leaders of the original Black Panther Party.

Among other things, Hampton organized a student chapter of the NAACP in Maywood, Illinois. He united poor Black, white, and Puerto Rican people as part of the “Rainbow Coalition” and inspired peace among several warring gangs, News One reported.

“I hope people actually go study Fred Hampton’s analysis on U.S. imperialism and fascism beyond just seeing a movie,” Noname tweeted. “Most of his politics were stripped from that film.”

Noname added, “It was shot beautifully. The acting was amazing. But it’s a movie about an informant. Fred is secondary and his radical communist politics are (not) centered, at all.” 

Although a majority of Black Panther programs leaned toward socialism, the FBI declared the group a communist organization and an enemy of the U.S. government, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

Hampton was known for politically radical views which included a wish for an organized revolution. He once said, “We ain’t gonna fight no reactionary pigs who run up and down the street being reactionary; we’re gonna organize and dedicate ourselves to revolutionary political power and teach ourselves the specific needs of resisting the power structure, arm ourselves, and we’re gonna fight reactionary pigs with international proletarian revolution.”

He also often spoke of armed revolution. He once said, “We know that political power doesn’t flow from the sleeve of a dashiki. We know that political power flows from the barrel of a gun.”

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Noname was slated to sing with fellow Ghetto Sage members Saba and Smino on one of the film tracks.

“what’s crazy is they asked,” Noname tweeted to a fan trolling her about not being on the soundtrack. “i was supposed to be on the song with saba and (smino) but after seeing the movie i decided to pass.”

“Judas And The Black Messiah” will be released in theaters and streamed exclusively on HBO Max on Friday, Feb. 12.