Michael K. Williams, Terry, New Jersey discussed on Fresh Air


We're listening to my 2016 interview with Michael K. Williams when we spoke, who is also hosting a documentary series on vice land called Black Market. About underground economies. The first episode was about Carjacking in Newark, New Jersey. You interview a minister Reverend Ronald Christian who ran the Christian Love Baptist Church, a church that bordered Newark in Irvington, New Jersey. And this is a church that was really important to you during a difficult period of your life. The episode is dedicated to the memory of this, reverend. So in between the time That you recorded the interview and last November when he actually died. I don't know how much time elapsed but you must have been really shocked. He was found dead on the floor of the church. Does anyone know what happened? His heart just gave out, man. He got tired. You know, this was a man that you know. I've never seen someone gave so much of themselves 100% night and day. He just never stopped. He was always there in the community. If you're familiar with Essex County and particularly Irvington, and you know, certain parts of the oranges and especially Newark, you know that there's a lot of violence that goes on there. A lot of death life is very cheap or no streets. And he was always there. What? What? What do you do for you? You came to him during a difficult part of your life broken. I came through those doors. I was broken. When wasn't This was I would say around the second more like third season of the wire. I was I was the on drugs Basically, keep it up, You know, long story short and, uh I was in jeopardy of destroying everything that I had worked so hard for, and I came in those doors and I met a man who had never even heard of the wire, much less watched it. He was somewhere else. The Bronx preaching at another church when I first went there, and they stopped everything he was doing, ran back to New Jersey just because his his team at the church told him that some, you know, some guy named Omar was in trouble and needed to speak to him and He came in his office and he says, Write your full name down and your email Someone go get you a Bible, man. You could keep that and we're gonna spend the rest of this day and I was like, bet, so I wrote my full name down Michael Kenneth Williams as he's leaving the office. He turns right to so So what You want to be called man? I said, Well, you know, my name is Michael. But you know, I could do, Mike, you know, he said, why anybody saying Oh, my Oh, my in trouble. I was like, Oh, stood that clueless and had nothing to do with Hollywood light or who I was in my job, some human being just basic human being stuff and He and I have been joined at the hip ever since. One of his biggest sayings was I'm gonna love you till you learn to love yourself. And he just He never judged. Never, you know, just nudged, you know, you know, like, you know, if you want to stop this pain, I could help you with this. But until you're ready, man, I'm your brother. He never, you know, I'm not saying he accepted me in my dysfunctional is, um But he loved me in it and It worked. It worked for me. It got me to want to become a grown man to grow up and and and just start back in foolish or at least to make the attempt to start back and foolish. You know, he went from prison guard to prisoner to, Reverend. So I assume there was some kind of like Religious transformation along the way I did and was their religious transformation in your life to that figure into your life at all. Yeah, it was more of a spiritual awakening than anything religious, you know, Uh, that was the first time I actually walked into a church and felt like it's okay. I didn't feel dirty. You know I come from, you know, uh, there's a lot of things in my past something that I did something something that happened to me that you know, because you know a lot of scars. You know, one was, you know the molestations and went on it in my life early on, Um, survivor of that. How old were you? Hand. 12 or 13 12 open there. You know things happen, huh? But, uh, you know, you move on and and I never would go into church. I always felt like you know the the whole. It made me question myself on every level. You know those events happened so early on in my life. And I would go to church with just like You know this secret this weight like You know, I'm dirty. I'm dirty that God is never gonna want me. I'm dirty, you know? You know, And then you know, it mixed that with the whole, you know, Dark skin just became popular. I just had I had a very low self esteem coming up. And I just never felt like God loved me because I was dirty because you know, I was damaged goods for whatever reasons, whatever that means, you know, And I wore that badge very early on in my life, and I didn't Let that that go until I walked into Christian Love Baptist Church. You know, I saw all the other men who who said Yeah, me too. Out loud, You know? Yeah. And it doesn't make you less of a man That doesn't make you dirty, you know? You know how to forgive myself and how to forgive people move on. Got all of that. And Christian love, You know, you know, In our first interview, you talked about how when you were playing Omar. It was hard for you to summon up the kind of power that he had. I mean, he was a stickup man who used to hold up Drug dealers and steal their money. He didn't approve of drugs. He didn't like dealers, so he'd take their money and have no qualms about it. And he was tough enough and brave enough to do it. So you said that you never thought of yourself as having that kind of power. I know, in fact, in fact, the opposite. And so the thought of you playing that role made you laugh, and you even told me that In the first scenes that you played. You couldn't stop laughing because you thought it was so absurd to view to be. Well, Terry. You got somebody with that kind of power. So it was the scene went was walking down the aisle. I think all my come to drop the drugs out the window. He turns his back. I'm like no one in their right mind. Who knows me? I said, it's over that we're going to ruin this character because people are going to go out there you go state That's not real. We know Mike Mike is not that everyone like you know, and so for me to connect You know, uh, you know again, the whole alpha male aspect..

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