August 28, 2011
Many will ask why I have chosen this theme and name and what ninjas have to do with HIV and outcasts, feared by society.
First and foremost, because I am known as Frankie NINJA. Named by The Legendary Icon "Mother" Willi Ninja, of Madonna's "Vogue" and "Paris is Burning" fame, in 1997 when I did not even know who Willi was, is, or would be.
Willi was the choreographer for Madonna's iconic video and starred in the aforementioned and critically acclaimed documentary on the then underground dance phenomena known as "Vogue-ing."
That said, I want to make it abundantly clear to those in the "ball-room scene" that I am NOT a "voguer," I have NOT walked a "ball," I do NOT hold a title, other than, undeservedly, Overall Father of The Legendary House of Ninja (for the WESTERN US), as accepted by THE Overall Father, Benny Ninja, to whom credit goes for acknowledging and ensuring that Willi's last wishes were met.
I do not seek a title in the ball-room scene, nor do I seek to oversee "the house." I DO, however, seek to share MY story and in so doing, fulfill a promise to Willi. To the community. To THE FAMILY. Benny (Ninja) has taken the name to new artistic heights. It is my intention to take it to new philosophical heights.
My love for "THE FAMILY" began when Willi passed, and was etched in my soul when I would later be diagnosed with HIV and "THE FAMILY" would take me in with arms open and full of love. I am OK today because of the love of people like Archie Burnett -- who continues to care for "Momma Ninja" Esther Leake (Willi's mother) -- and Overall Father Benny Ninja, Emperor Anthony, Grand Father Hector X-travaganza and Luna Kahn, to name but a few of many. THEY gave me love and support when NO ONE ELSE would. The debt of love and gratitude I have for them can never be repaid but I hope that my blogs will be installments on an unfathomable debt of love.
So why the name, "The Ninja Report"?
Well like Ninja's, we lurk in the darkness (so to speak) by trying to blend into our surrounding in the hopes of not being noticed, whether gay, or straight, HIV+ or negative. Of being accepted as normal members of our complacent, prepackaged society. Like Ninja's, we are, generally speaking, in the gay community, a well-educated and defensive as well as resourceful bunch. Like Ninja's, people with HIV are quite literally in a fight for their lives. We rely on our craft, our art, our science, for our very survival.
Now I won't write frequently about Willi or The Legendary House of Ninja, of which I have had the honor to be a significant part since 1997. I may make casual mention of them from time to time as their lives and actions relate to HIV and me. It is my hope and desire to show the world, however, what life is like for "HIVers" (People living with HIV) on the west coast in general and in gay Mecca, San Francisco in particular.
While I hope to inspire some to give back, and others to push back, I hope that my words give a real and substantive insight into what life is like for "us" on the west coast. How, in reality, we are not much different than those not afflicted by this disease.
As we embark on this journey together, I ask that you keep an open mind. That you challenge me when you disagree with what I report and that you educate me where I am factually in error. Like you, I am human. Bound to err but subject to learn and overcome. This is MY story of living with HIV. The errors I made that allowed me to acquire it and how I have overcome the stigma of HIV by learning what it truly is and how to merge it (HIV) into my life. It may be an unwelcome guest in my body, but this is STILL MY body and like my house, in MY body, I make the rules. We may not get along but at the end of the day we must learn to coexist if either of us is to survive this, as yet, incurable disease.
With that introduction, I want to welcome you. I look forward to interacting with you. I promise not to take any prisoners. And like a ninja, I strike hard, strike fast, and never let them take me prisoner!
Frankie (DADDIE) Ninja