Remembering Michael K. Williams

Our culture has taught us to celebrate people’s accomplishments and lives after they have passed on. Sadly it was never a concept that resonated with me. But it was all I knew, and sometimes it’s easier to stay stuck with what we’re comfortable with instead of questioning it or doing things differently. And like anyone who grew up with this idea, I’ve always made a great effort to send the biggest Floral Arrangement and say nice things about the dead. 

After the death of my loving dad this year, I’ve decided that celebrating the lives of those who came before me, those who paved the way for me, or inspired me in some way is something I would like to do as a way of honoring them. I want to appreciate those I love, and care about. And those who inspire me every day. When someone who inspires us from afar (an author or celebrity), passes on I believe finding a way to honor is a beautiful way of appreciating what the value they have added to our lives.

Caitlin Cronenberg

 I didn’t know who Michael Kenneth Williams was until I read this quote:

“I spent a lot of my younger years not feeling beautiful. When I look back at my pictures now as a kid, I’m like ‘Damn, you were actually beautiful.’ I couldn’t see it back then. That’s a large thing that makes me go back to working with the youth in my community. I let them know they’re beautiful”

I don’t watch much television but I started to watch some of the series he was a part of. And I have never met him, but he was a Brooklyn boy and a beautiful soul; today, I would like to take some time to celebrate his life.

American Actor Michael Kenneth Williams was born on November 22nd, 1966, and passed away on September 6th, 2021. He was best known as Omar Little on the HBO Drama Series “The Wire,” which aired from 2002 to 2008.

Michael was born in Brooklyn, NY, to a Bahamian mother and an American father from South Carolina. He grew up in East Flatbush in the Vanderveer Projects and attended Westinghouse Career and Technical High School.

He’s known for his roles in:

  • HBO Drama Series “The Wire” 2002 to 2008
  • HBO Drama Series “Boardwalk Empire” 2010 to 2014
  • HBO Television “Biopic Bessie” 2015
  • HBO Series “The night of” 2016
  • Netflix Drama Series “When they see us” 2019
  • HBO Series “Lovecraft County” 2020

And his ongoing role in “Community” 2011 to 2021

Supporting Roles in:

  • Gone Baby Gone 2006
  • The Road 2009
  • 12 Years a Slave 2013
  • Inherent Vice 2014
  • Motherless Brooklyn 2019

Michael’s peers have always had nice things to say about him while he was alive and after he died:

He’s humble.” 

“He had a big heart,” 

“ An amazing soul,” 

“ A beautiful person inside and out,”

 “An immensely talented man with the ability to give voice to the human condition portraying the lives of those whose humanity is seldom elevated until he sings their truth.”

“A good, kind, and wonderful man”

“a fine man and a rare talent, and on our journey together, he always deserved the best words.”

To celebrate the Life of Michael Kenneth Williams, I would like to share ten quotes or sayings that have inspired me:

“I use my job to engage empathy and compassion for people society might stereotype or ostracise.”

“I grew up in East Flatbush in Brooklyn, which was an intense neighborhood filled with different West Indian cultures.”

“I don’t believe in typecasting. Just because all my characters may come from the other side of the tracks doesn’t mean they are all the same. You don’t stereotype people and generalize people; everyone’s different.”

“Revenge is not a positive state of mind or energy to indulge yourself in.”

“It’s weird; sometimes, I still see myself as just starting out. I tend to forget how much I’ve been doing, but in the beginning, it is about the hustle, being out there, and doing the work. Nothing is going to come to you, you have to get out there and do the work, and I’ve been doing that. But sometimes, it’s good to take a break and let these things air out. Reflect and take it in.”

“The streets would have chewed me up and spit me out, and I knew that, but I found my own ways and different knacks for getting in trouble and being reckless with my life. And I’ve overcome a lot of personal demons and to be alive is really my greatest achievement.”

“I don’t consider myself a person of fashion because it’s too sophisticated. My thing is I look at style like swagger. I like things that pull me, that I gravitate to.”

“I am the epitome of the underdog. By society’s standards, I should have been dead a long time ago, and I was nobody’s gangster, I wasn’t a thug, I wasn’t selling drugs on the corner – I was scared of that.”

“The arts saved my life.”

“I’m more liable to hurt myself than someone else.”

“CHILDHOOD IS THAT STATE WHICH ENDS THE MOMENT A PUDDLE IS FIRST VIEWED AS AN OBSTACLE INSTEAD OF AN OPPORTUNITY”

“Writers will see your work and want to try you in different things, but I think you have to stay true to your vehicle. We all have a vehicle. Whether it’s a thug, or a schoolchild, or the babyface or the sex siren or the video vin, whatever it is, ride that until the wheels fall off, and eventually, if you build your foundation, then you can branch-off.”

“If you’ve ever felt oppressed on any level, there’s something from ‘The Wire’ that you can take and identify with.”

“You know, Tupac is very near and dear to my heart. He started my career as an actor.”

“You know, my childhood was pretty colorful; I like to use the word ‘turbulent.”

Sleep in Peace Dear Michael Kenneth Williams.

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