House of Ninja Remembered


Those very active historically aware gay and bi men at the Antinous Blog have much to remind us of in LGBTQIA history every day, reminding us that Pride comes from within, and that our people have struggled against different forms of oppression to triumph. On September 2nd, the blog marked the fifteenth anniversary of the death of Willi Ninja, who helped in the popularisation of a largely African-Caribbean and Latin queer style of dancing called Vogue. Sally Sommer, a professor of dance at Florida State University remarked 
"He was tall man, about 6-3, and God gave him the biggest, broadest dance shoulders in the world, so when he would do those things with his arms it was just so impressive”. The Antinous blog says: An androgynous, self-described "butch queen," Willi Ninja taught vogueing throughout Europe and Japan, modeled in runway shows for the fashion designers Jean Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler and danced in music videos including the stunning 1990 hit single that brought Vogueing into straight living rooms globally – Madonna's startling “Vogue”. Ninja looked fierce and could be sharp witted with his tongue, but he was a mother to the young people in his “House of Ninja” and on the club scene more widely. His own mother was ill and, even though his own health was declining through HIV, Ninja prioritised her health care at his own health's expense. A shocking indictment of the American privatised health care system. Ninja passed on fifteen years ago, to join the ancestral realm of African-American LGBTQIA people. We salute him.

In Memorium
African-American LGBTQIA Culture
Cultural Institutions

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