The Night Of actor Michael Kenneth Williams will receive a Made in NY Award at tonight’s IFP Gotham Awards ceremony. The award, presented by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, recognizes excellence in New York City’s creative community and achievements of individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the City’s entertainment and digital media industries.
“Michael Kenneth Williams is an inspiring New Yorker who continues to give back to his community even as his acting success reaches new heights,” said Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. “Not unlike the characters he’s played on screen, Michael has faced down adversity and translated his experiences into his craft. For young people everywhere who have faced similar challenges whether it be abuse or bullying, Michael’s story stands out as a shining example of courage, honesty and perseverance.”
“I’m overwhelmed with happiness and gratitude for being given the Made in NY award,” said Williams of the honor. “The city is and will continue to be an intrinsic part of who I am both personally and as an entertainer.”
Williams, born in Brooklyn and raised in East Flatbush, began his acting career at the National Black Theatre in Harlem. He was recently seen in HBO’s The Night Of in the role of Freddy Knight, for which he received his second Emmy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. Williams previously received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie for his role as Jack Gee in HBO’s Bessie.
In 2018, Williams will return as ‘Leonard’ for a third season in the Sundance Channel series Hap & Leonard. His upcoming film projects include Gideon Raff’s Red Sea Diving Resort, which chronicles the evacuation of Jewish Ethiopian Civil War refugees from Sudan to Israel in the late 1970s and early ’80s.
Williams also is working to launch Making Kids Win, a charitable organization whose primary objective is to build community centers in urban neighborhoods that are in need of safe spaces for children to learn and play. Williams currently serves as the ACLUs ambassador of Smart Justice.
Last year’s recipients were Aziz Ansari and Judith Light.