Google Doodle Celebrates Iconic Dancer Willi Ninja, Who Inspired Madonna, Jean-Paul Gaultier

Willi went on to master the art of voguing, a dance style that blends fashion poses with intricate, mime and martial arts-like movements.

Google Doodle Celebrates Iconic Dancer Willi Ninja, Who Inspired Madonna, Jean-Paul Gaultier

Today's doodle features an exploration of Willi Ninja's dance moves.

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 made by the internet giant features a short display of his dance movements with music.

According to the Google doodle page, Willi Ninja was born in 1961 and grew up in Flushing, Queens. He paved a path for black LGBTQ+ representation and acceptance in the 1980s and '90s.

The community he created, “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 featured are current members of the House of Ninja (Archie Burnett Ninja, Javier Madrid Ninja, Kiki Ninja, and Akiko Tokuoka aka KiT Ninja) dancing in celebration of Willi's legacy. On this day in 1990, the documentary Paris is Burning — which features 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 encouraged his interest in dance by taking him to ballet performances at the Apollo Theater. Although she couldn't afford expensive dance lessons, it didn't stop Willi from teaching himself the moves that would make him a star. 

Willi established new dancing methods that redefined voguing norms, drawing inspiration from martial arts and Egyptian hieroglyphs.

After being propelled to fame in the 1990s, Willi went on to appear in movies, music videos, and high-end runway events all around the world. His dance moves served as an inspiration for stars like Madonna and Jean-Paul Gaultier.