Actor Michael K. Williams, who died of a suspected heroin overdose Monday, dedicated himself to helping keep city kids safe from violence when the five-time Emmy nominee wasn’t acting on hit TV shows like “The Wire” and “Boardwalk Empire.”
“Brooklyn is mourning one of its native sons,” the borough’s president and Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams tweeted shortly after news broke about the East Flatbush native’s passing.
“Michael K. Williams was a generational talent and a tireless advocate for social justice. As Omar in The Wire, he once said ‘sometimes who you are is enough.’ Michael was always unabashedly himself — and he will be deeply missed,” Adams wrote.
The 54-year-old — currently a 2021 Emmy Award nominee as best supporting actor in a drama for “Lovecraft Country” — was found dead in his luxury Williamsburg penthouse Monday afternoon.
Williams founded the nonprofit Making Kids Win that provides opportunities to teens who are at risk of getting involved in gun violence.
The activist actor, who grew up in public housing in East Flatbush, testified at a City Council hearing last year to support NYPD reform.
Sage Young, a literacy advocate, also praised Williams’ charitable work.
“I used to be on staff at one of the many organizations Michael K. Williams supported, and he was the one celebrity you could always count to show up,” Young tweeted.
“He shared his time, talent, and spirit with those kids, and the impact of that cannot be overstated,” she added.
Williams also donated his time to another youth group called Operation Who Counts.
“We are engaging our youth, we give them the resources and the finances to build our block,” Williams said on the “Useful Idiots” podcast last fall.
“Our youth are engaging their blocks to get voted, to be counted in the Census. We play music. We had a marching band. It’s communal, and it’s so beautiful,” he said.
Williams penned a column that ran in newspapers across the country after George Floyd’s death to promote the work of yet another anti-violence youth nonprofit, NYC Together.
That group “engages youth and officers to reimagine solutions to community problems, lessening the need for traditional law enforcement intervention,” he wrote.