Still from Judas and the Black Messiah, image courtesy of The New York Times

Alumna Amber Chardae Robinson ’15 Costars in ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’

BY Robbie Armstrong, April 6, 2021

Alumna Amber Chardae Robinson ’15 appears in the recent hit film Judas and the Black Messiah which is currently streaming on HBO Max and playing in select theaters. 


In Judas and the Black Messiah, William O'Neal is offered a plea deal by the FBI to infiltrate the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party and gather intelligence on Chairman Fred Hampton. Robinson plays the fictional role of Betty Coachman in the film. Robinson’s character is composed of numerous real women who were members of the Black Panther Party. At the peak of the Black Panther Party, women comprised over 60 percent of membership. 


Judas and the Black Messiah tells a true American story. In a recent interview, Robinson shared her excitement for the material saying “I hope this film educates. The reason I tell stories is to liberate people through art.” Robinson shares, “The amount of black civil rights activists that died under J. Edgar Hoover’s watch was astonishing. Films like this cause us to reflect and make adjustments to our society. That’s why I do the work I do.”


Robinson did a significant amount of research on the Black Panther Party in preparation for this film and even reflected back on her time at Columbia as inspiration. Robinson shared “Thinking on my time in graduate school, there was a parallel for me. I tapped into my own strength of being a Black woman at a predominantly white institution. I had to learn to assert my intellect. I’m a Black girl from the South with a country accent. People don’t think Ivy League graduate when they see me.”   


Amber Chardae Robinson is a Los Angeles based actress who spent three months living in Cleveland to film Judas and the Black Messiah. Her other film credits include Stuber and Always A Bridesmaid. She plays a recurring role on the Western drama series Hell on Wheels. At Columbia, she appeared in Oedipus The King and Amphitryon


Judas and the Black Messiah has received rave reviews, being called “A powerful, and candidly sympathetic, political biography with contemporary relevance.” The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in February 2021. The film is nominated for six Academy Awards and award winners will be announced at the upcoming Academy Awards ceremony. Judas And The Black Messiah can be seen in select theaters and on HBO Max.