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This was posted by Karl Xtravaganza:

HOLD THAT POSE - Remembering Willie Ninja

On the morning of September 2nd, Legendary voguer Willie Ninja passed away from us. Many will remember Willie, either though the ballrooms or as an omnipresent figure in New York nightlife.

In the early 1980's, Willie created and perfected a style of vogueing that was uniquely his own. He expanded the vocabulary of the dance to include such desperate influences as martial arts, Egyptian hieroglyphics, pantomime, and contortionist gymnastics. In doing so Willie challenged everyone in the ballroom to match his level of precision, excellence and determination.

Never giving into any perceived limitation, Willie was one of the very first members of the ball community to take vogueing outside of the ballroom. His work with Thierry Mugler and Malcolm McLaren helped to fuel interest in the underground documentary "Paris Is Burning" (in which he is heavily featured); interest that eventually culminated in Madonna's "Vogue". As the familiar face at the door of Louie Vega's Dance Ritual parties in the mid-1990's, Willie continued to expand his circle of friends and admirers to include many in the music and entertainment industries. Much as Fab Five Freddy did for the HipHop scene, Willie became the unofficial ambassador of the Ball Scene - bridging the gap between a unique gay subculture and the larger world. Always generous, when a younger generation would eventually match (or on the rare occasion exceed) his own level of achievement, Willie would be the first to anoint them.

Even today, Willie continues to command respect both in and out of the ballroom. He will be remembered as member of the pantheon of true ballroom "legendary legends", a status well deserved and one that only a very select few ever achieve.

Karl Xtravaganza
September 3, 2006
At least Willy will always live on in "Paris Is Burning" and Malcolm McLaren's "Deep In Vogue" video.

Deep In Vogue

This has got to be a special tribute to the houses of New York
Le Beija, Extravaganza, Magnifique, St. Laurent, Omni, Ebony, Dupree.
In my black tights just throwing shade
Doing this dance that some queen made
I remember the first time I saw it,
Told my brother to put me up on it,
It wasn't easy no 1, 2, 3
Took a long time to learn to feel free
But here I am Vogueing pretty
In some club deep in this city
Deep in Vogue, Deep in Vogue
Imagine runway modelling, in freeze frame
At the ball that's what they call Vogueing
Vogueing is a challenge dance
Instead of fighting you take it out on the dance floor
10!, 10!, 10!, 10!, 10!, 10!, are there anymore!

Sometimes on a legendary night
Like the closing of the Garage
When the crowd is calling down the spirits
Listen, and you will hear all the houses that walked there before'*

Deep in Vogue, Deep in Vogue
The House of Extravaganza the House of Dupree
Who the hell are they?
They're nobody, except when they're in that little ballroom

*Excerpted from Chi Chi Valenti's "Nations" 1988, Details Magazine


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  • waltzdarling
Hi Everyone here's a Bulletin we just put up on about Willi...

From: Tina Paul & Lady Arhlene are

Date: Sep 5, 2006 3:45 AM
Subject Our Tribute To Willi Ninja
Body: To Willi Ninja's friends,

Willi Ninja was our true friend
we will miss him especially at Fashion Week
we will always remember Willi and keep him
in our hearts forever and ever..we love you
Willi take care our angel..

We created a Special Webpage for Willi Ninja..

Love and Blessings,

Tina & Arhlene
When someone like Willi dies, it's like a piece of your childhood disapearing forever. Seeing Willi's pose-striking in Malcolm McClaren's video on a giant video screen upstairs at Traxx is one of my first and best memories of New York nightlife shortly after arriving here in the summer of 1988 at the age of 20. I was captivated and bug-eyed and star-struck. Very precious indeed. Rest in peace.
Willi's funeral was like a state occasion...
no, not like a state occasion, it WAS a state occasion.
ALL the houses were there.
The funeral home was packed to the rafters. There were a thousnd people there to say good-bye.
Inaya Day and Joi Cardwell sang. (Barbara Tucker and India were out of the country)
Willi was laid out in a white casket with fierce gold robes and gold boots. His beat (make-up) was flawless. He looked great. He had that gorgeous signature Willie Nija smile. He really seemed happy to be on his way to heaven.

There were celebrities, there were club kids, there were fashion industry people, music industry People, nightclub people and there were the ball children of course. There were people of every color -wearing every color.
It was a state funeral for an ambassador.

Most of all, I was struck by the kids. Some no more than 13 or 14 already on "the path".
Probably kicked out of their family homes, they took shelter in the Ball World.
This was big for them.
They were wide-eyed and totally overwhelmed by the spectacle.
(you could see the little wheels turning in their beautiful little heads, "I want this many people at my funeral but I'm not gonna have white. I want like a pale blue coffin 'cause I'm gonna be all in blue 'cause I have those cute Gucci shoes that I mopped that are blue an' I'll mop the belt that goes with it an'...")


Seeing Chi Chi, Pat field and Annie Flanders (Original Details Magazine founder who flew in from LA) together was interesting. 20 years after voguing was in Vogue these 3 were there.
(no, Madonna was not there).

There was a uniformed NYPD officer at attention next to the coffin the entire time.
It was a state funeral.

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