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Google Doodle celebrates the iconic dancer Willi Ninja's 62nd birthday
Willi went on to master the art of voguing, a dance style that combines trendy poses with intricate movements, mime, and martial arts; he inspired stars like Madonna and Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Today, Google Doodle celebrates the life and legacy of Willi Ninja, an iconic dancer and choreographer known as the "Godfather of Voguing." A doodle made by the search giant features a brief sample of his dance moves set to music.
Watch the sample of his dance moves set to music added by Google
According to the Google Doodle page, Willi Ninja was born in 1961 and grew up in Flushing, Queens. He paved the way for black LGBTQ+ representation and acceptance in the 1980s and 1990s.
The community he created, "The Iconic House of Ninja", still lives on. The Doodle video was illustrated by Rob Gilliam and edited by Xander Opiyo, with original music by Vivacious.
The artists featured are current members of the House of Ninja (Archie Burnett Ninja, Javier Madrid Ninja, Kiki Ninja and Akiko Tokuoka, aka KiT Ninja) dancing to celebrate Willi's legacy. On this day in 1990, the documentary Paris is Burning, featuring Willi and the Iconic House of Ninja, had its US premiere at the NewFest New York LGBT Film Festival.
He had a loving mother who supported his identity. She encouraged his interest in dance by taking him to ballet performances at the Apollo Theater. Although he couldn't afford expensive dance lessons, that didn't stop Willi from teaching himself the moves that would make him a star.
Willi established new dance methods that redefined fashion norms, drawing inspiration from martial arts and Egyptian hieroglyphs. After being propelled to fame in the 1990s, Willi appeared in films, music videos, and high-profile runway events worldwide. His dance steps served as inspiration for stars like Madonna and Jean-Paul Gaultier.