The Baltimore Ravens paid a touching tribute to the late great Michael K. Williams in their first game at home and their first game in Baltimore since the actor’s untimely death. The tribute was for arguably Williams’ most famous and critically acclaimed role of Omar Little from The Wire, the iconic drama series that takes place in the same city.
Before kickoff of their home opener Sunday night, the Ravens played Omar’s iconic “the Farmer in the Dell” whistle, a warning that lets both the criminals and police of The Wire know that the King was around (best not miss if you decide to come at him). The Ravens made a comeback win, beating the Kansas City Chiefs 36-35.
In the world of The Wire, Omar Little is a stick-up man who has developed a reputation around Baltimore, feared by just about every criminal in the city. A man with a code (something a man has got to have), Omar makes it clear that he doesn’t hurt or steal anyone not “in the game,” meaning that he only goes after other criminals.
Williams has embodied a number of characters throughout his career, with his performance as Montrose Freeman in Lovecraft Country earning him a nomination at the 2021 Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series. While he did not win the award, presenter Kerry Washington gave a loving tribute to Williams during the ceremony last night, describing him as “a brilliantly talented actor and a generous human being who has left us far too soon” and closed the tribute by saying, “I know you’re here because you wouldn’t miss this. Your excellence, your artistry will endure. We love you.”
Williams was also nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Limited Series Or Movie in 2015, 2017, and 2019 as well as Outstanding Informational Series Or Special for his executive producer role on Vice. Through all of these roles and positions, Williams considered Omar one of his favorite roles and while the character’s convictions, development, and presence were all part of what made the character so widely loved, it was Williams’ performance that truly made the character jump off the screen and into the collective minds of everyone who has watched The Wire.
Williams was found dead on September 6 at the age of 54. With so many people from fans to colleagues to the city that the show was set in giving these loving tributes, it demonstrates the lingering impact of the character of Omar Little, but also how loved the man behind the character was. Always remember: “A man’s gotta have a code.”
Watch the Michael K. Williams tribute from the Baltimore Ravens below: