I just received the sad news that one of our brightest stars has passed away at the age of 45, the legendary Willi Ninja.

Willi Ninja (“Paris is Burning” and “How Do I Look”), a legendary ballroom figure, recently stepped forward as yet another one of our beloved family members living with HIV.

Commonly referred to as the Grandfather of Vogue, he was featured in the 90’s documentary “Paris Is Burning,” which introduced the world to voguing. Yes, it was Willi and not Madonna.

I met Willi in Los Angeles two years ago when the House of Omni held its 25th anniversary celebration. I remember being smitten with Willi and excited for the opportunity to meet him in person.

Over the years, Willi had created quite a name for himself. He will always be remembered by me as one of a kind, fierce, and fabulous.

My thoughts are with Willi, his family, friends, his house the House of Ninja, and the entire ballroom community during this sad time.

It’s times like this that I find myself asking, how many more of us have to die from this disease and how many of us are out there keeping our status to ourselves and not seeking the appropriate care that we need because of fear and shame?

Funeral Arrangements

Friday, September 8, 2006
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Gilmore Funeral Home
191-02 Linden Blvd St,Albens 11412
(Queens, New York)

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