Proximity, 99% Invisible, and Warner Bros. Present the ‘Judas and the Black Messiah Podcast,’ an Official Film Companion from Radiotopia

The podcast is hosted by film critic Elvis Mitchell

David Cotrone
Feb 5 · 5 min read

Proximity, 99% Invisible, and Warner Bros. today present the “Judas and the Black Messiah Podcast,” an official film companion from the Radiotopia podcast network from PRX.

An audio trailer is available today. New episodes will be released on Fridays from February 12 through March 12.

Listen across platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Amazon Music

From producers Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther,” “Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”) and Charles D. King (“Just Mercy,” “Fences”) and director/co-writer/producer Shaka King, the filmJudas and the Black Messiahis inspired by true events, telling the story of Chairman Fred Hampton — the charismatic young leader of Chicago’s Black Panthers — and William O’Neal, who infiltrates the Panthers per FBI Special Agent Roy Mitchell and J. Edgar Hoover. As Chairman Fred ascends, falling for fellow revolutionary Deborah Johnson en route, a battle wages for O’Neal’s soul. Named one of the top 10 motion pictures of the year by the American Film Institute and by the Black Film Critics Circle, the film is in U.S. theaters on February 12 and available on HBO Max for 31 days from theatrical release.

In the “Judas and the Black Messiah Podcast,” host and critic Elvis Mitchell of KCRW is joined by Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. — son of Chairman Fred Hampton and head of the Black Panther Party Cubs — as well as the film’s actors and creative team, and by members of the Black Panther Party who knew Chairman Fred Hampton. Together, they look at the true stories behind the events portrayed in the film.

In episode one, Chairman Fred Hampton Jr., King, and Coogler — along with Billy “Che” Brooks and Stan McKinney, Black Panther Party members who served with Chairman Fred — recount Hampton’s early days as a teenage revolutionary who quickly rose as a leader in the Chicago movement and who became a target of the U.S. government. The episode will also feature Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out,” “Widows,” “Black Panther”), who portrays Chairman Fred Hampton, and Dominique Fishback (“The Hate U Give,” “The Deuce”), who portrays Johnson, in discussion about how Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. put them all to the test to ensure they were the right people to tell his father’s story. Future episodes of the podcast will feature actor LaKeith Stanfield (“Atlanta”, “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”), who portrays FBI informant William O’Neal, and activist Akua Njeri, Chairman Fred Hampton’s widow and Chairman Fred Hampton Jr.’s mother, who was with Hampton the night of his assassination in 1969.

The “Judas and the Black Messiah Podcast” is a production from Proximity — co-founded by Ryan Coogler, Zinzi Coogler, and Sev Ohanian — and 99% Invisible, made in partnership with Warner Bros. The creative team includes Archie Davis and Dorado Quick. The production team includes Roman Mars, Christopher Johnson, Abby Madan, and Delaney Hall of 99% Invisible.

“Ryan and I are both based in Oakland and the first time we met, we talked about podcasts,” said Roman Mars, host of the podcast “99% Invisible” and co-creator of the Radiotopia podcast network. “We decided it would be fun to work together. It’s been a joy to work with today’s best visual storyteller to bring these important stories to life through audio. My deep appreciation also goes to Christopher Johnson, a supervising producer here at ‘99% Invisible’ who has written and produced this podcast with such care, and to our whole team.”

The “Judas and the Black Messiah Podcast” is free on-demand to listening audiences via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, and where podcasts are available.

About Proximity

Proximity is a multi-media company founded by Ryan Coogler, Zinzi Coogler, Sev Ohanian, Ludwig Göransson, Archie Davis, and Peter Nicks with a mission to create event-driven feature films, television, soundtracks, and podcasts that look to bring audiences closer together through stories involving often-overlooked subject matters.

About 99% Invisible

99% Invisible” is a sound rich, narrative podcast hosted by Roman Mars about all the thought that goes into things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. With approximately 500 million downloads, “99% Invisible” is one of the most popular podcasts available today. “99% Invisible” was started by Mars as a project of KALW public radio and the American Institute of Architects in San Francisco. “99% Invisible” is an independent production and a proud founding member of Radiotopia, an award-winning network of independent podcasts.

About WarnerMedia

WarnerMedia is a leading media and entertainment company that creates and distributes premium and popular content from a diverse array of talented storytellers and journalists to global audiences through its consumer brands including: HBO, HBO Max, Warner Bros., TNT, TBS, truTV, CNN, DC Entertainment, New Line, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies, and others. The organization also includes Xandr’s suite of advanced advertising solutions designed to help to improve advertising for brands, publishers, and consumers.

About Radiotopia

Radiotopia from the public media organization PRX is a curated network of independent, listener-supported, artist-owned podcasts. In 2017, Radiotopia was named one of Fast Company’s top 10 most innovative companies. Podcasts in the network generate more than 20 million downloads per month and have received recognition from the Peabody Awards, Alfred L. duPont-Columbia Awards, the Pulitzer Prizes, and from the Third Coast International Audio Festival.

About “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Inspired by true events, “Judas and the Black Messiah” was directed by Shaka King, who co-wrote the screenplay with Will Berson. Berson & King also co-wrote the story, with Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas. Ryan Coogler and Charles D. King produced the film with Shaka King. The executive producers were Sev Ohanian, Zinzi Coogler, Kim Roth, Poppy Hanks, Ravi Mehta, Jeff Skoll, Anikah McLaren, Aaron L. Gilbert, Jason Cloth, Ted Gidlow, and Niija Kuykendall.

The film stars Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out,” “Widows,” “Black Panther”) as Fred Hampton and LaKeith Stanfield (TV’s “Atlanta,” “Sorry to Bother You”) as William O’Neal, as well as Jesse Plemons (“Bridge of Spies,” “Game Night,” “The Post”), Dominique Fishback (“The Hate U Give,” “The Deuce”), Ashton Sanders (“American Son,” “Moonlight”) and Martin Sheen (“The Departed,” TV’s “The West Wing,” TV’s “Grace & Frankie”). The ensemble cast also includes Algee Smith (“The Hate U Give,” “Detroit”), Darrell Britt-Gibson (“Just Mercy,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), Dominique Thorne (“If Beale Street Could Talk”), Amari Cheatom (“Roman J. Israel, Esq.,” “Django Unchained”), Caleb Eberhardt (“The Post”) and Lil Rel Howery (“Get Out”).

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with MACRO/Participant/BRON Creative, a MACRO Media/Proximity Production, a Film by Shaka King, “Judas and the Black Messiah.” The film will be released in the U.S. in theaters and on HBO Max on February 12, 2021, and available on HBO Max for 31 days from theatrical release. It is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures and has been rated R for violence and pervasive language. www.judasandtheblackmessiah.com

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