Willi Ninja, a well-known dancer and choreographer known as the “Godfather of Voguing,” is honored in today’s video Doodle. An acclaimed entertainer, Willi cleared a way for Dark LGBTQ+ portrayal and acknowledgment during the 1980s and ’90s. The “Iconic House of Ninja,” the community he established, continues to exist today. Rob Gilliam illustrated, Xander Opiyo edited, and Vivacious composed the original music for the Doodle video. In honor of Willi’s legacy, the featured dancers are current House of Ninja members Archie Burnett Ninja, Javier Madrid Ninja, Kiki Ninja, and Akiko Tokuoka aka KiT Ninja. Willi and the Iconic House of Ninja were featured in the documentary Paris is Burning, which was released in the United States on this day in 1990 at the NewFest New York LGBT Film Festival.
Willi Ninja was born in Flushing, Queens, in 1961. He had a caring mother who upheld his character. By taking him to ballet performances at the Apollo Theater, she stoked his interest in dance. In spite of the fact that she was unable to manage the cost of costly dance illustrations, it didn’t prevent Willi from showing himself the moves that would make him a star.
Willi proceeded to excel at voguing, a dance style that mixes design presents with complex, emulate and hand to hand fighting like developments. The Harlem ballroom scene, which was a safe haven for LGBTQ+ Black and Latino people to express themselves and be together, is where the dance form came from.
Most Dark and Latino dance hall members have a place with bunches known as houses, which offer a lengthy social family and wellbeing net for the people who face dismissal from natural family members. Willi co-founded his very own community, the House of Ninja, in 1982. Even after he became famous, he continued to support and guide the members of his house.
Motivated by Egyptian pictographs and hand to hand fighting, Willi presented new dance procedures that re-imagined voguing guidelines. Willi rose to fame in the 1990s and went on to appear in luxury runway shows, music videos, and films all over the world. His moves inspired Madonna and Jean-Paul Gaultier, among others.
Willi’s distinctive dance style was featured prominently on the big screen in the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning. The film was a major achievement and presented Willi’s work to a more extensive crowd.
Willi was a powerful advocate for his community when he wasn’t dancing. One of the first to bring issues to light of HIV/Helps counteraction at drag balls, Willi assumed a urgent part in assisting with diminishing disgrace encompassing the illness.
Thank you Willi Ninja for your contributions to dance and for making Black and Latino LGBTQ+ identities more widely known. In your honor, the House of Ninja continues to dance.
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