Sunday, September 03, 2006

Willi Ninja RIP

I've been away from blogging for a few days, but received news today from poet Latasha Natasha Diggs that legendary ball figure Willi Ninja, an internationlly acclaimed voguer, dancer, choreographer, singer, and stylesetter, had passed away. Checking over at Andrés's blog, I see that he has posted on Willi Ninja's passing, with a link to Keith's informative post, and Emanuel Xavier's blog (which is on MySpace, so you may have to sign up to view it). Keith links to Jasmyne Cannick, who writes a brief but moving tribute. Like many people, I first came across Willi Ninja's artistry when I saw the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning, and from that moment I was a fan. I was pleased to hear years ago that his career had taken off, but very sorry to hear recently that he was dealing with major health problems. As anyone who has ever seen Paris Is Burning or who interacted with Ninja will know, "legendary" only touches the surface of his skill, creativity and grace. He was only 45 years old.

Ninja with House of Ninjans
Willi Ninja with members of the House of Ninja, at Patricia Field's 40th Anniversary Party, April 26, 2006 (photo from Andrew Der)

Andrés adds in his update:

UPDATE: Over on his blog, Emanuel Xavier has updated information about a funeral service for Willi Ninja to be held this Friday in St. Albans, Queens. At the time of his passing, there were some hospital bills that still had to be paid and friends are trying to set up a way for people to donate and help his mother cover some of these expenses. Additional information about donations and a possible benefit will be forthcoming. For the latest, you can visit Willi Ninja's MySpace page at which is being updated by Aimee. I will share additional information as it becomes more concrete.

Funeral Services for Willi Ninja
Friday, September 8, 2006 (7-9 pm)
Roy L. Gilmore's Funeral Home
19102 Linden Boulevard
Saint Albans, Queens, NY 11412


  1. I just want you to know i throughly enjoyed reading your blog about Willi. Willi will be missed. Stay encouraged!

  2. i just want all to know will be miss by everyone and he is a true ledgen and he took his vogueing with him for there is no one like him and no one could be like him god be with you Willi long live the legden of vogueing. the one who tought Madonna how to vogue and is on one of her video .We will miss you Willi .:-)