Williams was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1966. His mother was Bahamian and his father an African-American from South Carolina. Williams grew up in public housing in the Brooklyn neighbourhood of East Flatbush. He made his first foray into acting after enrolling at the National Black Theatre in Harlem.
Williams is best known for his role as Omar Little in the HBO series The Wire. Williams was a primary cast member, appearing in 41 of the show’s 60 episodes between 2002–2008. The Wire was set in Baltimore where Williams’ Omar was famous for robbing drug dealers, a practice that eventually landed him in big trouble.
Williams started working as a professional actor in the mid-’90s, landing small roles in films such as Julien Temple’s crime drama, Bullet, and Martin Scorsese’s psychological drama, Bringing Out the Dead.
More recently, Williams played Montrose Freeman in the HBO show Lovecraft Country. His performance scored him a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. The 2021 Primetime Emmys will be handed out on Sunday, 19th September.
Williams’ exact cause of death is yet to be determined.