NEW YORK (PIX11) — Actor and Brooklyn native Michael K. Williams was remembered at a vigil at the neighborhood where he grew up: the former Vanderveer Estates, now known as Flatbush Gardens. The focus was less on Williams’ death, which is being investigated as a possible drug overdose, and more on celebrating his life and the impact on a community he never stopped calling home.
The Emmy-nominated actor initially made his name as a dancer, and that is still how so many of his former neighbors remember him. But Williams really hit it big on the legendary TV series “The Wire,” portraying Omar, an openly gay Robin Hood-like character who robbed drug dealers.
It was the first of so many roles that led to Williams becoming something special to so many people. It means something for little boys and girls in this community to see someone who looks like them succeed in Hollywood. And that long vertical scar down the center of Williams’ face helped reinforce their belief that a strong work ethic and talent could indeed outweigh the need for cookie-cutter looks and a blemish-free appearance.
At the end of the vigil, the crowd held onto white balloons and prepared to let them go in honor of Williams’ life, gone too soon.
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