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The Wire and Boardwalk Empire star Michael K. Williams has a lot of love for one “Lady O” — and no, it’s not Oprah, but she has had her own talk show.
On the latest episode of PeopleTV’s Couch Surfing, the actor shared some anecdotes from his friendship with rapper and actress Queen Latifah — a connection spanning 30 years.
“I love her, man,” he said while watching a scene from Bessie, the 2015 HBO movie that starred Queen Latifah in the title role and Williams as her husband, Jack Gee. “I love me some Dana.”
Williams, who’s currently starring on Sundance TV’s Hap and Leonard, has known Dana “Queen Latifah” Owens — or as he calls her, “Lady O” — since she was 17 years old.
“She was the first thing to inspire me,” he says. “She was the first person that I saw in my life that made [success] tangible.”
Just before her career took off, Williams remembers Latifah stopping by his place in Brooklyn to try to share some good news.
“She was like, ‘Mike, don’t tell nobody, but I got a record deal. I’m about to make a record, and things are gonna change in a minute.” The actor implies that he was smoking too much weed at the time to take her seriously, but after he “got [his] head together” and asked around more than a year later, some local friends gave him the update on her success.
“They was like, ‘You don’t know?'” Williams recalls. “I said, ‘Know what?’ They said, ‘Dana on the radio, bro. She got a record. That’s Queen Latifah now.’ I said, ‘Queen La-what-the-who?'”
Watch the full clip above, and catch Michael K. Williams starring opposite James Purefoy on Hap and Leonard Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Sundance TV.