Michael K. Williams Honored in Warm Statement From Kerry Washington at 2021 Emmys

One of the most poignant parts of Sunday's uneven Emmy Awards show was the acknowledgment of the loss of veteran television actor Michael K. Williams, and actress Kerry Washington honored him in a lovely tribute while presenting the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor In a Drama. Williams, who passed away suddenly at the age of 54 on Sept. 6, was nominated for his role as Montrose Freeman in HBO's Lovecraft Country. Washington was visibly emotional while declaring that Williams "left us far too soon."

"Michael was – crazy to say was – a brilliantly talented actor and a generous human being," Washington said. "Michael, I know you're here, because you wouldn't miss this. Your excellence, your artistry will endure. We love you." She also tweeted about the moment, sharing a link about her speech with five emoji hearts and writing "you are missed and you are loved Michael K. Williams. It was an honor to honor YOU." Unfortunately, the moment was followed by Williams losing to The Crown's Tobias Menzies. Menzies was not there to accept the award, leaving Washington to awkwardly accept it on his behalf. 

Williams was found dead in his New York apartment on Sept. 6. The New York Post said that drug paraphernalia was found in the apartment, suggesting a possible overdose. Williams was found dead in the living room of his Brooklyn penthouse by his nephew. Williams is known for his roles in The Wire, Community, and Boardwalk Empire. He is also known for his roles in the movies Triple 9, Ghostbusters, and most recently Body Brokers. In an interview with Men's Health last year, Williams talked about his issues with drugs. 

"Pain. In a word, a lot of pain," Williams said. " A lot of trauma early on that I didn't have the proper tools to deal with. My mom was very strict. The beatings were very severe growing up. She was determined to not have her two sons run amok. She had a brother who passed. He was a fighter and went to jail for murdering someone with his bare hands. It was a way of protecting me. It wasn't an easy childhood, being sensitive, vulnerable. I'm not alpha, in any sense the word of the title."  


In the same interview, Williams discussed meeting former President Barack Obama in 2008 and him saying that he loved Williams in The Wire. "When he said that The Wire was his favorite show and that Omar was his favorite character, I was like, holy s—, this man who's running for president of the United States watches something like The Wire?" Williams said. "It was the first time I felt seen. I was like, wait a minute. I need to earn this. My personal life needs to match the responsibility that comes with being recognized by a man of this caliber."