In 1989 British artist Malcolm McLaren (1946 – 2010) invited vogue legend Willi Ninja (1961 – 2006) to London to record a spoken word introduction to his song “Deep In Vogue”, with which he wanted to present the New York ballroom culture to a new audience. The main part of the song was performend by singer Lourdes Morales and released as a single from McLaren’s album Waltz Darling in a remix by producers Mark Moore and William Orbit, which McLaren liked better than his own version. Singer Lordes today claims that McLaren stole the original idea for the song from house DJ and producer David Delvalle, while Willie Ninja shortly before his death criticized McLaren for misspelling his name on the single and not mentioning him as the writer of intro’s lyrics.
McLaren for his part later on openly criticized Madonna for stealing his idea of introducing ballroom to the mainstream with her single “Vogue”, which was released one year later: ”I found myself on the same bill as Madonna at some Greenpeace concert and I remember her watching my dancers voguing from the side of the stage. A few weeks later she had stolen all my dancers, brought out her own single and carried it over into the mainstream. The cheek of her!” It is said that Madonna learned about voguing through actress Lauren Hutton, who was McLaren’s girlfriend at the time.
The epic video to “Deep In Vogue” starring ballroom legend Willi Ninja and his crew was shot in 1989, shortly before the release of “Paris is Burning”, which already existed on VHS at that time. It was director Jenny Livingston herself, who allowed producers Mark Moore and William Orbit to use samples from the film for their version of the song.
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