Misha Green, Jurnee Smollet, Rosie Perez and More Pay Tribute to Michael K. Williams at 2021 Emmys

The Emmy-nominated actor died on Sep. 6.

Michael K. Williams' peers are honoring the late actor's legacy. During Sunday's 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards, stars including Jurnee Smollet, Misha Green, Kerry Washington and Rosie Perez took moments to pay tribute to the Lovecraft Country actor's memory.

The Flight Attendant's Perez teared up while speaking with ET's Nischelle Turner and Kevin Frasier on the red carpet, telling them she "can't even go there."

"It's a little too soon for me. We miss him and we love him and he was my friend," she added. "We're going to be celebrating him tonight, as well." 

Wunmi Mosaku, who starred in Lovecraft Country alongside Williams, posted a tribute to the actor on her Instagram page before the ceremony aired. Recalling how she felt starstruck during their first meeting, Mosaku shared how seeing Williams greet co-star Aunjanue Ellis with "respect, grace, gratitude and love" was her "lesson in humility."

"Why was I trying to play it cool? Why didn’t I instead tell them how much I admired them, like he had told her. Watching and learning from them and others was the whole reason I was blessed to be in that room that day. Michael’s honesty and openness was such a lesson to me. Always give people their flowers. Be open and honest," she wrote.

She continued, "Michael was pure of heart. A gentle gentleman that I love dearly and will miss greatly. Sending all my love to his family and friends. And to my @lovecrafthbo family in the spirit of Michael Kenneth Williams, let me say it out loud incase I never have, Im grateful to have grown and learned along side you all, watching you all walk in your purpose was such a privelege. Wishing you all the very best of luck tonight! Michael is beaming for you all, for us all. We honor you, Michael."

Green and Smollet, who starred with Williams on Lovecraft Country, sported pins honoring the late actor, which they told Turner was to remind everyone that "we're supposed to have someone here with us." Smollett wore her pin in her hair, while Green had it on her sleeve.

"And he is here with us," Smollett added. "He's here in spirit. I can feel him in little moments. And his work is just so profound and everything that he's done, particularly what he brought to Montrose was just so special and brave. So it's just our way of honoring him."

Green added that if the show won any of its nominations, including Smollet's nod for Lead Actress in a Drama Series, the cast planned to dance "in honor of Micheal" and celebrate his joy.

"That would just be so special for us. In honor of Michael, we plan to dance because that's what he did so well," Smollett expressed. "There's something about the way Michael lived his life and the amount of joy that he brought to our lives that we want to celebrate tonight."

Kerry Washington honored Williams on stage as she presented the award for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, which the actor was nominated for.

"Michael was -- it's crazy to say was -- a brilliantly talented actor and a generous human being who has left us far too soon," she said. "Michael, I know you're here because you wouldn't miss this, your excellence and your artistry will endure. We love you."

The actor was also included in the ceremony's heartfelt "In Memoriam" segment.

The five-time Emmy-nominated actor died on Sept. 6. In March, he took home a Critics Choice Award for the series, telling ET that he felt humbled by the win.

"For one, it feels really humbling that the voters from the Critics Choice Association, this came from them. It holds a special place in my heart. It's just nice to be recognized. It's really humbling. I feel good," he said about the win.

He continued, "To be here today, to be celebrated, to have something to celebrate, is refreshing. It's a refreshing break from what we see on the news every day. To be acknowledged by the critics, I feel seen, which a lot of times, someone that looks like me, that comes from my community, it's very easy for us to feel unseen. So, a lot of emotions are in the room. Anybody [that] knows my past, my story, it wasn't guaranteed I was gonna make it here on a lot of personal levels. My life could've taken a lot of different turns, so to be here alive, healthy, being celebrated with my loved ones, I feel truly blessed."

The 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, aired live Sunday, Sept. 19 on CBS and Paramount+. For complete Emmys coverage, stay tuned to ETonline.com.


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