Black Hollywood has been reeling from the untimely death of Michael K. Williams, who died at the age of 54 during the Labor Day holiday. Several stars, particularly those who were closest to Williams, gave their condolences and shared their memories of Williams on social media.
Tika Sumpter wrote about her memories of Williams on Twitter.
“God, he was a true gem. I was so lucky to be around him and work with him on Bessie,” she wrote. “He was one of the kindest humans in all ways. Being in #MichaelKWilliams presence was a gift. A true gift. Thank you #michaelkwilliamsRIP.”
God, he was a true gem. I was so lucky to be around him and work with him on “Bessie”. He was one of the kindest humans in all ways. Being in #MichaelKWilliams presence was a gift. A true gift. Thank you #michaelkwilliamsRIP pic.twitter.com/g3C96b58xG— Tika Sumpter (@iamtikasumpter) September 6, 2021
Ava DuVernay, who directed Williams in Netflix’s When They See Us, wrote on Instagram about what it was like to work with him on set.
“I remember the times you’d come on set even when you weren’t on the call sheet. Just to share a hug. To cheer us on. Strollling in like the King that you are. For just a flash to give some love – then gone,” she wrote. “I remember nights out in NYC that summer and how you were so loved by the folks in your city. I remember our work on the work, always connected and communicating and excavating and building because you were so open and ready to give your all.”
“I remember you sending me a picture of yourself as a young man and sharing with me that the boys whose story we were telling were a reflection of you – and we were going to get it right,” she continued. ” I remember you taking the young actors to the beach on your own and talking to them about things I couldn’t – about being a young, Black man in New York at the time – and how grateful I was. I remember the last text you sent me introducing me to your friend ‘Ava’ that you met Day One in your trailer – and me not believing that you kept your start-of-production orchid for three whole years.”
DuVernay also recalled when Williams talked about what his legacy could be.
“I remember you speaking of mortality, like you did in your post last year about Kobe. In it, you wonder how you’ll be remembered and what your legacy will be,” she wrote. “Maya Angelou once said, your legacy lives on in every life you touch. You, brother, touched many. Through your personal interactions big and small, through your community activism, through your struggles, through your triumphs, through your glorious work. You moved many. You moved me. What you doubted in life, be certain of now, dear brother. Be certain. You were a flash of love – now gone. But never forgotten.”
Jharrel Jerome, who also worked with Williams on When They See Us, posted an image of himself and Williams on Instagram and wrote, “You were kind. You were gentle and soft spoken. You were funny. You were smooth. You were as real as they came. You inspired me. You inspired all of us.”
“You were the type of artist that I thought could live forever,” he continued. “But I’m still not wrong, because you WILL live forever. You are a timeless actor Michael. We love you, we will miss you. Rest in Peace. Omar’s still comin.”
Jerome’s mention of “Omar” is a reference to Williams’ character in The Wire, which also starred Isiah Whitlock Jr. Whitlock wrote how “shocked and saddened” he was at hearing of Williams’ death.
“One of the nicest brothers on the planet with the biggest heart. An amazing actor and soul. May you RIP. God bless.”
Shocked and saddened by the death of Michael K Williams. One of the nicest brothers on the planet with the biggest heart. An amazing actor and soul.— Isiah Whitlock Jr. (@IsiahWhitlockJr) September 6, 2021
May you RIP. God bless.
Williams’ The Wire costar Wendell Pierce also wrote on Twitter about his grief.
“The depth of love for this brother can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss,” he wrote. “[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.”
The depth of my love for this brother, can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss. A 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. pic.twitter.com/EvrESGSK8O— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) September 6, 2021
Damson Idris also wrote about Williams’ ability to inspire, posting to Twitter, “Rest in Peace Michael K. Williams. Gone far too soon. A man that taught me so much. Thank you for your wisdom.”
Rest in Peace Michael K. Williams. Gone far too soon. A man that taught me so much. Thank you for your wisdom. pic.twitter.com/qoOKxdnErF— Damson Idris (@DamsonIdris) September 6, 2021
Aunjanue Ellis, who worked with Williams on Lovecraft Country, wrote on Twitter, “MKW 4Ever. My heart screams.”
MKW 4Ever.— Aunjanue Ellis (@aunjanuejlt) September 6, 2021
My heart screams.
Omar Epps also wrote a very succinct, but heartfelt post about Williams.
“My fellow craftsman and thespian,” he wrote on Instagram. “My deepest condolences to your family and friends. You were one of the ones, nice with this ting of ours! Love and prayers for real. Dance with the angels beloved. #RIPMichaelKWilliams.”
Yvette Nicole Brown also shared her memories of Williams, writing on Twitter,” The thing about [Michael K. Williams] is that as fierce and foreboding as his characters often were, he as a man couldn’t have been more easy-going and lovely. He was good, kind man and so fun to work with. I am sorry to hear of his passing and of how. #RIPMichaelKWilliams.”
The thing about @BKBMG is that as fierce and foreboding as his characters often were, he as a man couldn’t have been more easy-going and lovely.— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) September 6, 2021
He was good, kind man and so fun to work with.
I am sorry to hear of his passing and of how. 😔
Aisha Tyler also wrote on Twitter, “Michael K Williams was a beautiful, passionate, expansive soul. I felt so lucky to have known him, and we were all so fortunate to have enjoyed his incredible talent. He burned so very bright. Rest in power, MKW. You will forever be The King.”
Michael K Williams was a beautiful, passionate, expansive soul. I felt so lucky to have known him, and we were all so fortunate to have enjoyed his incredible talent. He burned so very bright.— Aisha Tyler (@aishatyler) September 6, 2021
Rest in power, MKW.
You will forever be The King. pic.twitter.com/LuFY0tG9NA
Colman Domingo tweeted about his feelings regarding Williams death, writing, “Truly gutted on hearing the passing of Michael K. Williams. A tremendous actor.”
Truly gutted on hearing the passing of Michael K. Williams. A tremendous actor.— Colman Domingo (@colmandomingo) September 6, 2021
Leslie Jones wrote on Instagram about how it was to work with Williams on Ghostbusters.
“Not gonna lie this one fucked me up y’all!! Michael K. Williams was a solid dude,” she wrote. “He was so nice to me when we did Ghostbusters and we bonded on many levels!! Damn I was just thinking the next time I saw him I was gonna tell him how dope of an actor he is. Damn y’all we lost a good one. Rest in love my brother.”
Kerry Washington also shared her condolences on Instagram, writing how she was “so heartbroken” to hear the news.
“Thank you for the beauty and joy you brought to the world,” she wrote. “Sending love and prayers to your friends, family and everyone who adored you, me included. We adore you Sir.”
Spike Lee posted a picture of himself and Williams at a New York Knicks game, writing how loss of both Williams and French New Wave actor Jean Paul Belmondo made Monday a “tough day.”
“I’m shook,” he wrote. “…Our greats are leaving us left and right. GOD BLESS.”
Our thoughts are with Williams’ family at this time.