Michael K. Williams Had Roots In Music


Tributes are pouring in for Michael K. Williams, the acclaimed actor who was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment on Monday – and some fans are learning that his roots were in music.

“All I wanted to be was a dancer,” he said in a 2018 interview. "I didn’t really have any thoughts on being an actor when I first got into the arts.”

Appearing on a 2014 episode of Queen Latifah’s eponymous daytime talk show, Williams said he was inspired by watching his childhood friend Dana Owens become Queen Latifah.

“I was like, if D can do it, I can do it,” he recalled. “I couldn’t rap, though. That was the only problem.”

Williams said when he saw the video for Janet Jackson’s 1989 single “Rhythm Nation” he lost his mind and told himself: “That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to go become a back-up dancer for Janet Jackson.”

Williams added: “That never happened. I never got to dance with Janet Jackson but I did have a pretty good career as a dancer.”

That career included dancing for singer Kym Sims and touring with pop stars like Madonna and the late George Michael.

Williams choreographed – and is one of three dancers in –  the video for Crystal Waters’ 1994 hit “100% Pure Love,” which earned a MTV VMA nomination for Best Dance Video.

It was the late rapper Tupac Shakur who gave Williams in his first movie role – portraying the brother of Shakur’s character in 1996’s Bullet.

“I think he saw my pain, my struggle, my heart,” Williams told NPR in 2014. “I was starstruck. I was like, ‘Wow, this is Tupac Shakur.’”

The actor also shows up briefly in the opening moments of the video for Young Jeezy’s 2006 track “Bury Me a G.”