Michael K. Williams, the beloved actor who starred as Omar Little from ‘The Wire’ passed away in his Brooklyn apartment earlier today. He was 54 years old.
Though the man is gone, the legacy he leaves behind stays strong, with the roles he played, the talent he brought onto the screen, etched into many people’s memories. “A man gotta have a code,” words often spoken by his character Omar Little, but they’re words that ring true in his own life, and should ring true in the lives of many for years to come.
Instantly recognizable, even for people that haven’t watched ‘The Wire’. His portrayal, his abilities on the screen, that’s the kind of mark they left behind. One that goes beyond simple word of mouth connections. Michael K Williams became an icon in one of the most intriguing eras of television.
He was born to play Omar Little. A stoic gaze, a scar stretching the length of his face, and a quiet wisdom set behind eyes that had seen more than most are willing to admit. And though Williams will be remembered best for this role, his abilities stretched much further, and his imprint left on the industry, is much larger.
Before appearing on TV, he aspired to be a dancer, and was he ever talented. Appearing as a backup dancer in music videos from Madonna to Ginuwine. He first appeared on the big screen opposite Tupac Shakur, in the 1996 film ‘Bullet’.
A scar that defined his legacy, a mark left behind by a razorblade he was struck with in a fight when he was 25. A remnant of a harsher life that Williams wasn’t bound to forget anytime soon, and a reminder of aspirations towards something more. That mark, that reminder, ironically cemented his legacy even further, giving him an image that belonged only to him.
A scar that in many ways parallels a strict code of honour, a code that every man, according to Omar Little, should have. A code that Michael K. Williams lived by. One of determination, of change, and of using what you’ve got and making the most of it.
Born in Brooklyn, and passed away on September 6th 2021 in Brooklyn. To never forget who you are, and who you were, but to grow as a person. That’s the ethos that Michael K. Williams should be remembered for.
He is survived by his one child, a son, Elijah Williams.
Rest in Peace.
Sources: THERINGER.COM, BET.COM, ROLLINGSTONE.COM, AVCLUB.COM