In addition to archival photography, Jones also studied documentaries such as The Murder of Fred Hampton from 1971 and spoke to Hampton’s fiancé Akua Njeri and son Fred Hampton Jr.They and director Shaka King realized they had enough material to recreate Hampton’s looks as faithfully as possible . “He wears his crew-neck sweatshirt a lot. He wears a lot of white Ts. Just very simple silhouettes. Mock Necks, the corduroy jacket, ”she said. “When I found the Duck Tarot Bucket Hat it was a key piece because that’s in a documentary that a lot of people haven’t really seen. It was just a matter of highlighting these elements for his character. “
There were other panthers whose individual style she also wanted to highlight, such as Bobby Rush (Darrell Britt-Gibson). “With all of the photos I’ve seen of him, he felt very fashionable. He was also a bit older than everyone else, ”explained Jones. “We have photos of him in that chunky Fischer cable sweater with the jacket.” Meanwhile, the younger Jimmy Palmer (Ashton Sanders) has been featured as “the coolest panther you’ve ever seen”.
(LR) Ashton Sanders as Jimmy Palmer and Algee Smith as Jake Winters.
And these leather jackets eventually came into play. Jones and King decided it would be time to stop introducing them after Hampton was locked up and then released. “It was an unequivocal and clear decision. The people in the area don’t really wear leather until then, ”she said. “It represented a maturation of the party creatively and visually.”
When it came to the character of O’Neal, the FBI informant, Jones had a much more artistic license, as very little footage or photography of him exists. She used his clothing to telegraph his excruciating separation between two worlds: becoming entangled in the panthers, and then meeting and taking orders from FBI Agent Roy Mitchell (a particularly menacing Jesse Plemons).
“We see him emulate Palmer. When he’s not wearing his panther suit, he wears these amazing spread collar shirts with all these amazingly beautiful stripes and details as well as striped bell bottoms and Beatle boots, ”explained Jones. “He ends up wearing this jade suit and a leather peacoat and we talked about the combination, which means he really doesn’t know who he is. Is he a fed? Is he a panther? “
O’Neal’s last look.
One place she looked to while developing O’Neal’s look is in GQ – specifically the March 1969 issue. A series titled “The Coachman Comes Back” consists of double-breasted suits layered over turtlenecks. This was used as inspiration when O’Neal meets Mitchell at a restaurant and his final betrayal of Hampton is set in motion. He wears a burgundy turtleneck under a double-breasted khaki suit.
A spread from the March 1969 issue of GQ.
The O’Neal look is inspired by the theme.
“The first time we see him in a suit, he is wearing a collared shirt and tie. Then, the second time we see him, he’s wearing a turtleneck and a suit. It’s a bit more polite and GQ. He’s swaying between Am I a panther again? Am i a fed? “Jones explained.” He’s got those sunglasses on. He really feels at that moment. Then he’ll be completely broken. “