Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the life and legacy of Willi Ninja, an iconic dancer and choreographer known as the “Godfather of Voguing.”
A doodle created by the internet giant shows a brief representation of its dance moves with music.
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 founded, ‘The Iconic House of Ninja’, lives on to this day. The Doodle video was illustrated by Rob Gilliam and edited by Xander Opiyo, with original music by Vivacious.
The performers on display are current members of the House of Ninja (Archie Burnett Ninja, Javier Madrid Ninja, Kiki Ninja, and Akiko Tokuoka aka KiT Ninja) dancing in honor of Willi’s legacy. On this day in 1990, the documentary Paris is Burning – featuring Willi and the iconic house of Ninja – was released in the US at the NewFest New York LGBT Film Festival.
He had a loving mother who supported his identity. She stimulated his interest in dance by taking him to ballet performances at the Apollo Theater. While she couldn’t afford expensive dance lessons, it didn’t stop Willi from teaching himself the moves that would make him a star.
Willi developed new dance methods that redefined fashion norms, inspired by martial arts and Egyptian hieroglyphics.
After rising to fame in the 1990s, Willi appeared in movies, music videos, and high-end runway events all over the world. His dance moves served as inspiration for stars such as Madonna and Jean-Paul Gaultier.