Willi Ninja Wiki, Age, Net Worth, Funeral, Death Cause & More

Willi Ninja


NameWilli Ninja.
AkaGodfather of Voguing.
Real NameWilliam Roscoe Leake.
In NewsGoogle Doodle.
Died Aged45.
Birth DateApril 12, 1961.
Birth PlaceNew Hyde Park, New York, U.S.
Died AtNew York City, U.S.
Cause of DeathAIDS induced Heart Failure.
ParentsMother: Esther Leake.
Father: --
Love Life
Marital StatusNot married.
Body Measurements
HeightIn feet: 6' 3".
In centimeters: 190.5 cm.
In meters: 1.9 m.
WeightKg: 78.2.
Pounds: 172.4 lbs.
QualificationHigh School Graduate.
Founder ofElements of Ninja (Modeling Agency).
MoviesParis is Burning (1990).
How Do I Look (2006).
Music VideosDeep in Vogue.
I Can't Get No Sleep.


Willi Ninja on Jimmy Kimmel show

Meet the Godfather of Voguing Willi Ninja

Willi Ninja, the godfather of Voguing (age: 45 years; April 12, 1961, to September 2, 2006), was considered one of the best dancers ever to take birth on American soil. Willi captivated audiences with his unique dance and movement style, becoming an icon in the ballroom scene.

He was not the founder of Voguing, but he was the one who refined it, added impressive dance moves, and set new standards. In 1990 he appeared in “Paris Is Burning,” a Jennie Livingston-directed documentary that won over 18 awards, including the GLAAD Media Award, Berlin International Film Award, Gotham Award, and Boston Society of Film Critics Award.

Ninja also appeared in many music videos like “I Can’t Get No Sleep,” “Deep in Vogue,” and “Hot.” He also appeared on the famous talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

Besides being a great dancer, Willi was also a great person. He was a proud member of the LBTQ+ community, so on Pride Month, Google released a Willi Ninja doodle and a clip showing Willi’s contribution to Voguing.



Willi Ninja refined Voguing

Willi Ninja’s Tragic Death Linked to AIDS-Related Illnesses

Willi Ninja’s untimely passing occurred on September 2, 2006, in New York City. He succumbed to AIDS-related heart failure, a devastating consequence of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Willi’s death was a profound loss for the artistic community and those who admired his talent and courage. Despite his physical absence, Willi Ninja’s impact and influence have endured beyond his lifetime.

He continues to inspire artists, dancers, and music DJs with his groundbreaking contributions to dance, gender expression, and LGBTQ+ culture.



Willi Ninja at Nightclub Mars

When was Willi Ninja Born?

On April 12, 1961, Willie Ninja, whose real name was William Roscoe Leake (Death Age: 45), was born in New Hyde Park, New York, US. Happened in. From an early age, it was evident that he had a natural inclination towards dance.

At the tender age of seven, Willi started showcasing his talent publicly, mesmerizing audiences with his grace and creativity. Throughout his childhood, his mother, Esther Leake, played a significant role in nurturing his passion for dance.

Esther, a loving and accepting mother, often took Willi to ballet performances and the Apollo Theater, exposing him to the world of dance and inspiring his artistic development. It was during this time that Willi discovered his true calling.

In 1979 he completed his school and joined a college for further studies, but due to his passion for dance, Ninja dropped out of college.



Voguing Pioneer Willi Ninja

Willi Ninja’s Career, Harlem Drag Balls & The House of Ninja

As a self-taught dancer, Willi Ninja honed his skills through observation, practice, and experimentation. He immersed himself in various dance styles, drawing inspiration from diverse sources such as Fred Astaire and the world of haute couture.

Willi’s unique blend of movement, fashion, and attitude would later evolve into the art form known as Voguing.

Harlem’s drag balls were the vibrant playground where Willi Ninja found his community and artistic expression. These events served as a fusion of competition, self-expression, and celebration for the LGBTQ+ community.

In the early 1980s, Willi founded the House of Ninja, a revolutionary dance collective that would later become synonymous with his name. Despite not conforming to the traditional prerequisites, Willi’s exceptional talent and vision allowed him to establish his house, known for its diverse membership and welcoming environment.



How did Willi Ninja die

Willi Ninja: The Voguing Master Journey

Willi Ninja’s breakthrough into the mainstream came with his prominent role in the 1990 documentary film, “Paris Is Burning.” Directed by Jennie Livingston, the film provided an intimate look into the New York City ballroom scene, showcasing its participants’ talent, artistry, and aspirations.

Willi’s captivating presence and awe-inspiring voguing performances captured the attention of viewers worldwide, propelling him into the limelight. “Paris Is Burning” elevated Willi Ninja’s career and shed light on the rich culture and struggles faced by the LGBTQ+ community.

Following the success of “Paris Is Burning,” Willi Ninja’s talent attracted attention from the music industry. In 1989, he starred in the music video for Malcolm McLaren’s “Deep in Vogue,” which sampled the documentary and introduced voguing to a broader audience.

One year later, Madonna’s iconic song “Vogue” further popularized the dance style, solidifying Willi’s influence and imprint on popular culture. Throughout his career, Willi collaborated with numerous artists, lending his exceptional skills to music videos, live performances, and choreography.

Notable collaborations included appearances in Janet Jackson’s videos for “Alright” and “Escapade,” showcasing his dynamic and versatile dancing abilities.



Paris is Burning


Lesser Known Facts about Willi Ninja

  • Willi Ninja helped popularize voguing, a unique dance style that originated in the Harlem ballroom scene.
  • He founded the House of Ninja, a famous voguing house that provided a sense of community and mentorship.
  • Willi Ninja was not only a dancer but also a choreographer, fashion model, and runway success.
  • He gained international recognition through the 1990 documentary film “Paris Is Burning.”
  • Willi Ninja collaborated with well-known artists like Madonna, Grace Jones, and Malcolm McLaren.
  • He used his platform to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and promote inclusivity and self-expression.
  • Willi Ninja taught and mentored aspiring dancers through workshops and classes.
  • His legacy continues to inspire dancers and performers around the world, even after his passing in 2006.


Related To: Know About Colombian painter Ana Mercedes Hoyos



Willi Ninja Q&A

Ques: What was the reason behind Willi Ninja’s death?

Ans: Heart Failure.

Ques: When was Willi Ninja born?

Ans: April 12, 1961.

Ques: When did Willi Ninja die?

Ans: September 2, 2006.

Ques: Why did Google celebrate Willi Ninja with Google Doodle on June 9?

Ans: Due to Pride Month.