The life and legacy of actor Michael K. Williams was honored on Tuesday morning (Sept. 14) during a moderately sized funeral in Harrisburg, Pa. According to Penn Live, about 150 of his family, friends, and Hollywood peers gathered to lay the television and film star to rest. Williams’ service was held at a local church and ran for about an hour. The program included a formal church service with hymns and communion and words from those closest to the actor.
Harrisburg is where Williams’ mother has lived for more than two decades and he embraced the community as his own. He and Chris Franklin, a Harlem Globetrotter native to the capital city, would often join forces to give back to the community. Franklin served as a pallbearer on Tuesday, along with actor Michael Giovanni, whom Williams discovered.
“He came to Harrisburg as often as he could,” said Johnathan Branam, the funeral home manager for Hooper Memorial Home. The company facilitated Williams’ services. “He loved his mama. And he was a man of the community. Harrisburg embraced him as an adopted son.”
Queen Latifah attended the funeral as well as Malik Yoba, the creator of The Wire, David Simon, and cast members including Andre Royo, who played “Bubbles,” Jamie Hector, who played “Marlo” and Felicia Pearson, who played “Snoop.” Other celebrity friends who were unable to attend gifted flowers such as Mariah Carey and Gabrielle Union.
Since his death, many of Williams’ peers have given touching tributes to their beloved friend via social media and in recent appearances. The cast of Lovecraft Country, in which Williams most recently played Montrose Freeman, have all been outspoken about the magnitude of the sudden loss. Courtney B. Vance recently accepted an Emmy Award for the series and explained how the happy occasion was also marred by sadness due to not only his castmate’s passing but also the show’s cancelation.
Jonathan Majors opted to pen an essay, naming his ” big brother Michael” his “guardian angel.” Jurnee Smollett paid tribute with a social media post. She spoke to her grief and shared memories of her and Williams’ time working together. The actress also shared a behind-the-scenes video of the cast in a follow-up post.
“My brother, my heart hurts so. A part of my brain refuses to accept it…sh**ty part about grief-it goes in stages,” Smollett wrote in the initial Instagram upload. “I called him. I called him over & over until my brain said stop, he’s gone. I couldn’t breathe. Taken awhile for my brain to metabolize how the world can continue to spin w/out him here in the physical form.”
She continued, “He was supposed to be here with us this week in LA for the Emmys. He was supposed to see how big Hunter is, we were gonna dance, celebrate, cry. Instead our brother was laid to rest today. I still can’t make sense of it. Perhaps it’s selfish of me to want to hold onto this beautiful man that came into my life & forever changed it…”
Williams, 54, was found dead in his Brooklyn home on Sept. 6. An official cause of death has not been released by the coroner’s office at this time. A live-streamed broadcast of the emotional funeral service can be found below: