Remembering Michael K. Williams

By: Tricia Desroches

The world is mourning the loss of the amazing actor Michael K. Williams, who was only 54 years old. He was found dead in his apartment on September 6, 2021. Drug paraphernalia was found near his body. He has talked about his struggle with drug abuse. Williams is best known as Omar Little on the Wire. In the homophobic world of drugs, his character, Omar Little, was an openly gay man from Baltimore who robbed drug dealers. He also plays in the shows Boardwalk Empire and Lovecraft Country. 

Despite playing a drug dealer who robs a person, Williams would occasionally admit that he was living a double life while playing Little. His addiction dictated his life away from the TV. Many staff employees claimed that he would show up to set the bar high, and in numerous interviews, he claimed that he had no idea how he was still alive. Reverend Ronald Christian and the Christian Love Baptist Church were instrumental in his getting clean journey, he said. Williams never sought to disguise the fact that his addiction persisted, declaring in a 2017 interview with The New York Times, “Addiction doesn’t go away. Itś an everyday struggle for me, but I’m fighting. For me, it’s a daily battle, but I’m fighting.” 

After The Wire, he goes in to portray more gay characters. His death hit hard to black gay and queer men because they saw people that were like them on TV. That motivated them to be themselves and not let anybody tell them who they are. Author Travon Free said that Williams was “a black queer icon who challenged the ideas of black masculinity at a time when it wasn’t easy.” 

Many fans took to social media to show their love toward him. Saying that he is a true artist. During his career, he won a SAG Award, An Independent Spirit Robert Award, etc. He was nominated for an Emmy Award. Williams is nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series at the Primetime Emmys, which will be announced later this month.

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