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.
Reveal interview by Author Raquel Cepeda: Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina.
Emmai Alaquiva, Rory Webb, Christina Choe, Doug Zajaczkowski
Editor: Sam Bathrick