Willi Ninja, Godfather of Voguing, Honored in Google Doodle

Author: Mikelle Street

Willi Ninja, known popularly as the “Godfather of Voguing” who helped bring the underground dance form from Harlem in the 1980s to the world, is honored today in a Google Doodle in honor of the anniversary of the release of the legendary house culture documentary Paris Is Burning

But Willi was also savvy in the ways of business. In the early 2000s and late 1990s, there was a negative backlash against the ballroom scene. Willi had closed the House of Ninja for his own reasons but eventually opened another collective called Elements of Ninja which operated more like a modeling and talent agency, working to get performers paid. He eventually reopened the House of Ninja with Benny as the father.

Willi’s legacy is indelible in the success and notoriety of both ballroom and the art form of voguing. Over the years he choreographed contemporary dance companies, working with Karole Armitage, and even taught model classes attended by Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington when he was hired by agencies like Elite and One. Though he died in 2006, his legacy and impact lives on.

Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Mikelle Street


My name is David but my online nick almost everywhere is Altabear. I'm a web developer, graphic artist and outspoken human rights (and by extension, mens rights) advocate. Married to my gorgeous husband for 12 years, together for 25 and living with our partner of 4 years, in beautiful Edmonton, Canada.

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