Michael K. Williams African Ancestry OKATV

The most recent installment of Okayafrica‘s “Roots Of…” series came from a serendipitous run-in with OKP favorite Michael K. Williams. They bumped into The Wire star on the streets of Brooklyn and he decided to take the plunge to find out where his people come from. After years of encouragement from friend Isaiah Washington, who did the same test and wrote a book about his findings, Omar/Chalky/Mr. Williams took the test from the folks at African Ancestry and discovered the origins of his mother’s family. Get the backstory and check out the footage below–and click through to Okayafrica for more on your favorite HBO actor’s favorite Nas lyrics:

Here’s how this went down. We were walking down the street in Brooklyn one day and turned around to see none other than Michael K. Williams walking his dogs right behind us. Omar. Omar F’ing Little. Hands down the best character on the best show ever. Ever. (Forever ever.) This is what we blurted out: “I love you.” We don’t kid. (We wish we did.)

It was a no-brainer that he should be the next subject of our “The Roots Of…” series in which we trace back people’s ancestry to the bright continent using a DNA test that can locate not only a country of origin but also an ancestral tribe. For Michael, it was serendipity. His brother-from-another-mother Isaiah Washington had already been in his ear to get the test done for a long time.

The results, revealed below, will give you goosebumps. Regarding his ancestors who survived the middle passage and slavery, he asks: “what is flowing in my veins that survived all that horror?” He finds a partial answer, at least, in one of Nas‘ most striking lines: “Heart of a king, blood of a slave.” For the rest you’ll have to watch.

>>>Read more + links to other “Roots of…” (via Okayafrica)

Reveal interview by Author Raquel Cepeda: Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina.

Emmai Alaquiva, Rory Webb, Christina Choe, Doug Zajaczkowski

Editor: Sam Bathrick


  • Li580

    I can’t wait to do one!!

  • Michael Coard

    Sisters and Brothers: Check out the 5.26 minute video of superstar Hollywood actor Michael K. Williams as he finds out who he really is and as a result transforms from a mere Black man with no roots into a proud African with powerful roots. The final 1.26 minutes will bring tears to your eyes, like it did to his (and mine).

  • Bwire Vincent

    Sierra Leone and Liberia are the two places in Africa where freed slaves were settled. That means this guy still doesn’t have an answer to his real origin.

    • lol your wrong if your going to comment on blogs or websites at least your information should be correct. Liberia not Sierra Leone was settled by free slaves. Even though Liberia was supposedly settle by “free slaves” there were over 10 different ethnic groups already on the land with there own culture and customs before the freed slaves arrived.

    • Lynn-Joy 40

      Sorry but you are incorrect Sierra Leone was settled by freed slaves and they were sent to Freetown most of them came from England. Because they were not sure who their tribe was they became know as the Krio people also having the ‘secret’ language now known as Krio. Most of the tribes in Sierra Leonne speak this language and their own tribal language. They became traders and also confidential counsellors to the other tribes as they were known for keeping a confidence. They are still to this day highly regarded and used as peace makers within communities. How do I know this my partner is Krio and I have researched and read a lot about them….

    • Fox News

      Lynn-Joy 40 you are well educated, Audi Brown and others needs to go back and read history… Liberia plays not part in freed slave… Freetown was bought for Free slaves to be resettled. Thanks for educating these one sided brothers.

    • bwirevincent

      Just stating a fact Audi. I also know a thing or two about Liberia, and resettlement of free slaves is one thing that the two countries you have mentioned have in common.
      All Michael needs to find out now is if he has traced is lineage to freed slaves or one of the different ethnic groups already in Sierra Leone with their own culture and customs before the freed slaves arrived.

    • Lynn-Joy 40

      Hi Bwire you are correct about Sierra Leone please read my reply to Audi Brown

    • bwirevincent

      Thank you Lynn-Joy; All I am saying is, this Michael K. Williams guy has only made half the journey. This means that he still has to keep looking.

    • KD

      Country of origin is not as important as the ethnic group. Mende people are currently in many parts of West Africa including Sierra Leone, Liberia, parts of Guniea etc. The countries you are referring to didn’t even exist during slavery. The key is the ethnic group, which he has. There lies the language, traditions and culture. That is is what is most important!

  • Murray MB

    Wow this is really good to know where your origin is …..

  • Lynn-Joy 40

    Thank you for sharing Michael K. Williams. So happy for you finding your roots. My partner is from Sierra Leone such beautiful people.

  • am

    I was in tears before he even started. I can’t wait to get mine done.

  • Truth

    Bwire you are correct SIerra Leone was settled by freed slaves but before those freed slaves came to the Sierra Leonean Shore there were over 12 indigenous tribes living there… And Micheal is descended from one of them… The Mende’s…..

    • bwirevincent

      Thank you for clearing that up Truth. But just so you know, by African traditions, kids belong to the father’s side of the family.

  • Kevin Mitchell

    Please I’m so excited by this can you help me trace my people or is there someone near by that can.