A unique tribute to renowned dancer and choreographer Willi Ninja, referred to as the “Godfather of Voguing,” is being made as part of “Google’s Pride Month” celebrations in recognition of the “LGBTQ community.”
Willi was instrumental in laying the foundation for “black LGBTQ+ representation” and acceptance in the 1980s and 1990s by introducing the world to precise motions and dramatic stances.
Google released a new doodle to honour Willi, in which the celebrated performer’s animated avatar was shown performing some of his well-known movements.
Along with the disco ball in the centre, the doodle also has a large play icon inside. A brief YouTube movie of “The Iconic House of Ninja,” a group the dancer founded and which continues to exist even now, 17 years after his death, appears when users press the “play” button.
The technician titan chose this day to memorialise Willi because on this day in 1990, the documentary titled “Paris is Burning,” which featured Willi and the enduring House of Ninja, was released in the US at the “NewFest New York” LGBT Film Festival. In the 1990 documentary, which included his distinctive dance technique, he played a key role. Willi’s art was made available to a larger audience because of the film’s success.
The doodle video, which has original music by Vivacious and illustrations by Rob Gilliam, was edited by Xander Opiyo.
Willi, born in 1961, was raised in Flushing, Queens. His mother supported him the most when he was growing up and accepted him for who he was. She pushed him to follow his passion for dance and persuaded him to enroll in ballet classes at the Apollo Theatre.
Willi later became an expert at voguing, a dance form that brings together fashion poses with complex mime and martial arts-inspired moves.
Google acknowledged Willi’s contribution to the dance community and the way he elevated the visibility of “black” and “Latino LGBTQ+” identities globally. The “House of Ninja” continues to perform in his honour.