Dominique Fishback Explains Why Judas And The Black Messiah Changed Her Life

Dominique Fishback

We recently got our first look at director Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah, a volatile biopic on the life and assassination of Chairman Fred Hampton, the leader of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers political group. A trailer for Judas dropped, showing off what appears to be a commanding lead performance by Daniel Kaluuya, as well as riveting support from LaKeith Stanfield and Dominique Fishback.

As luck would have it, the same day that CinemaBlend attended a trailer presentation for Judas and the Black Messiah, we were able to interview Dominique Fishback about her role opposite Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon Levitt in Netflix’s Project Power. Because the Judas trailer proved to be so incendiary, we asked Fishback about the importance of the narrative in the movie, and why she thought audiences should have the film on their radar. She explained:

Shaka King came to me and said, ‘I have this role for you. … I want it for you.’ So one, I was like, ‘Is the family involved? What’s going on with that?’ I think so highly of the Panthers. I feel very protective of our history in that way. I feel like they have been painted as villain a lot, so I don’t want to add any of that. I’m all love. The way that Ryan Coogler and Charles King and Shaka King gave love and understanding and patience and kindness towards the [Hampton] family as we navigated this film, it was a true blessing. I felt safe in that. And then Daniel Kaluuya has become such a great friend to me. He’s just transformative, and LaKeith as well. I just feel like my life changed. It was a beautiful, beautiful experience.

Judas and the Black Messiah tells the true story of Fred Hampton’s rise to power in the Illinois Black Panthers. But Hampton’s ascension catches the eye of the U.S. government, who then leans on someone in Hampton’s inner circle, William O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield), to get agents close enough to pull off a raid that led to the man’s assassination.

Dominique Fishback plays Deborah Johnson, Hampton’s fiancée and the mother of his child. She was by the man’s side as the rose to prominence in the Black Panthers, and her role should be integral in Shaka King’s retelling. The first official trailer landed recently. You can watch it down below.

This is turning into a strong year for Dominique Fishback. She dives into action alongside Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon Levitt in the high-octane Project Power on Netflix. And while Judas and the Black Messiah doesn’t yet have a release date, we expect the movie to land on the streaming service before the year’s end, so it can be in awards consideration.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.