The entertainment industry was shocked at the loss of Michael K Williams five months ago. The activist and actor was a native New Yorker who supported many causes (via The Hollywood Reporter). Now it may seem that there is some sense of justice to his untimely death, as much as there can be. Williams died last year due to a drug overdose of heroin that was laced with fentanyl. Though initially regarded as an accident, THR now indicates that four people have been arrested in connection with his death.
The US attorney Damian Williams has deemed that Michael K Williams was part of a “public health crisis.” Opioids have come to be laced with fentanyl creating a devastating loss of life. Court papers have indicated that Williams’ death was a direct result of drugs allegedly sold by the four men. The defendants are allegedly part of a trafficking organization who continued to operate in Williamsburg while knowing their drugs had killed Williams. Detectives have been working diligently on this case and have surveillance of one defendant Irvin Cartagena allegedly continuing to deal the drugs in view of the public.
Michael K Williams was a significant actor who played many iconic roles in HBO television series. His most beloved role is that of Omar Little on The Wire. The Wire continues to be considered the peak of narrative television and one of the best television series ever written (via Radio X). The show followed the real world strife of Baltimore, Maryland during the war on drugs. Characters such as James McNulty (Dominic West) and Stringer Bell (Idris Elba) contributed to how highly the show was rated. But Omar stood above the rest as a man who stole from drug dealers. Williams played the character with empathy and realism that was applied to the show as a whole.
Michael K Williams’ portrayal was so significant that his death was remembered by the city of Baltimore. After his death, the Baltimore Ravens honored his life by whistling the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell.” This was Omar Little’s trademark whistle on The Wire, a sign that he was on his way to kill the drug dealers of Baltimore. There was no line as recognizable as “Omar coming!” as he walked down the street.
After the conclusion of The Wire, Michael K Williams went onto HBO’s next crime venture Boardwalk Empire. Starring Steve Buscemi, the series was centered around prohibition-era Atlantic City as warring gangs attempted to get control of alcohol distribution. Williams’ character Chalky White was a sometimes ally of Nucky Thompson (Buscemi) and demanded the respect of those on the boardwalk.
Michael K Williams returned to HBO again for his role in Lovecraft Country in 2020. The series based on the book of the same name details one man’s discovery of his family’s legacy in 1950s Chicago. Williams portrayed Montrose Freeman, another character full of complexity. His character represented the difficulties of being a Black queer person at the time. Prestigious publications such as The New York Times complimented his acting and how important this representation was. Williams made an incredible contribution to art and film and will not be forgotten.