Film Review of: The Man Who Armed the Panthers

As I was watching the video “The Man Who Armed the Panthers”, I was genuinely surprised to see the face of the man who supplied such an iconic representation of black power. I hadn’t thought about how the guns came to be, maybe the guns suddenly appeared, or they were from an underground market. But in actuality, they were given by a man named Richard Aoki who also happened to have been an undercover FBI informant. He was of Japanese descent, whose family came during World War II. He grew up in an impoverished black neighborhood, he was in a gang, he was a political leader who joined associations for social justice, and was in the army.

So the genuine question is how can someone with such a complex story play on both teams? Maybe it was a strategy, to gain insight from both sides. However, its truly sad that we will never hear any of these details, from either the FBI who supposedly say they have no intel on him, to the Black Panthers who refuse to comment on him and Aoki himself as he, unfortunately, took his life in 2009, leaving two pressed uniforms in his room: an army uniform and a black panther uniform. Aoki close friends have never know about his two lives, stating that he was a mystery man. Despite this, we should give our respects to a man who did his best, and who joined a revolution that has changed time. Knowing we will never know the full story reminds me of how suddenly everything can disappear, that everything is so finite, such as all the history we will never know from the past, the legends, the myths, the hundreds of files in the library of Alexandria. I hope that for any future events, everything gets recorded because this is History and History should be remembered by us, not the oppressors.

Richard Aoki was known as the “minister of education” for the Berkeley, Calif., chapter of the Black Panther Party.

Judas and the Black Messiah: Film Review

Like many others who are often focused with trivial life things like school, work, enjoying time with family and friends, we forgot for a while about the complete social injustice there is. And then when we see it being retold, again and again: a police man shot a black man, families being kicked out of homes, racism in healthcare and impoverished communities, we snap back. I experienced such things when watching documentaries about group struggles or movies like “The Pursuit of Happiness”. So “Judas and the Black Messiah” was no exception to that, I was infuriated and completed disgusted with the legal system. But I was also completely heartbroken to see that every time we take a step forward, someone always pulls the rug and we drop and hurt bad. I wanted to shout and repeat each statement.

And the ending? It left me with disbelief but also expectation, an expectation that I learned real young, that power is for some and not for the many. The film did teach me a lot, especially about how simple life can be taken. And often then not, how simple it is to fabricate stories. But despite that, the BPP did their best with what they did. They didn’t want one group to be better than the other, they wanted everyone to be on the same page and it really showed towards the end with The Crowns who were sworn enemies with the BPP, offered a sum of money so that Fred could escape. Ultimately, there was only one idea that you can sum up of the BPP after reading and watching and learning all there is, there were for the people more than government was and ever will be. And they showed that when action is not being taken, you have to step on it and make your move. Their actions might have been very infamous especially with their use of violence, but the sentiment was still there that power is with the people: where their is power, there is people.

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2 Responses to

  1. JOSEPH BELLO says:

    I watched this video as well, and it was truly eye opening on how the FBI can easily manipulate the public.

  2. AMIR ASLAM says:

    After watching the movie, it opened my eyes how African American back in the day suffer.

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