Willie Estrada is a former National IT Manager/Director who worked for several Fortune 500 companies in and around the Wall St. area for 20 years. However, once upon a time during his youth, he was a Gang Leader whose gang "The Imperial Bachelors" was involved with gang violence, but, when Willie became one of its leaders, he and his friends helped bring peace into one of the most violent neighborhoods of the South Bronx. When it was called, "The Murder Capital of the New York City" during the early 1970s, they introduced and hosted Hustle parties at his gang's home base, St. Mary's Recreation Center, as an alternative to violence during the summer of 1974. He went on to become a Professional Dancer, Author, Actor, Producer, Music Business Impresario, and National IT Manager and is now Producing a documentary film based on his book The Dancing Gangsters of the South Bronx.
Willie Estrada is one of the original pioneers who helped develop the Latin Hustle during the early 1970s when it was still in its early stages. In late 1974 Willie was recruited into the Hustle Team with his partner Maggie Solis by George Vascones who founded The Latin Symbolics in 1972 as a Mambo team in New York City. Later, Willie led a Rock dance team called "The Rock Masters," and did most of the choreography. He gained city-wide fame winning numerous dance contests with his first Rock Partner Willie (Whip) Rivera during the early 1970s. He was inducted into the "Hustle Hall Of Fame" among all the greats in 2009, as one of the Hustle’s original pioneers.
After his foray into the Latin Hustle and Disco scenes, Willie went on to work at Club Promotions in nightclubs such as Faces Grand Ballroom in early 1978 and later became the Friday night House Promoter for Bond International Casino in 1982. He parlayed his popularity as a Dancer to help make Bond's the number-one nightclub in New York City. Never one to rest, Willie worked with the most prominent Latin Concert Promoters in the business, including David Maldonado and Ralph Mercado. During the late 1970s and into the 1980s, "Willie Estrada Presents," became a household name for many of the Disco party-goers in New York City.
All of Willie's experience in the Entertainment field prepared him for his most recent ventures. He authored a book titled; "The Dancing Gangsters of the South Bronx." A true story of the 1970s gang violence in the South Bronx, and how one gang achieved peace in one of the most violent neighborhoods of the South Bronx, by introducing the Latin Hustle dance as an alternative to violence.
In 2009, Willie returned to the dance scene and started sharing stories about dance culture and gang life experience, during a time when the South Bronx was burning, and the history of the dances that once saved his life. Upon his return, he started teaching Rock and Hustle dance in and around New York, and in 2011 he was invited to tour throughout Europe with the Rock Steady Crew, where he also joined them in doing workshops and teaching the Latin Hustle and Rock cultures of the early 1970s. That served as catalysis and later started touring and doing lectures about 1970s dance cultures, Rocking, and the Latin Hustle all over the world, and traveled to places like Paris, Italy, China, the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, and Mexico to name a few. On his 62nd Birth, he went back to Shanghai China for the second time to help a Chinese promoter by the name of Danny Wang promote the positive side of Hip Hop through music and dance to the Chinese Government which came close to ending all hip-hop events in China.
Most recently, Willie worked as the Technical Consultant for the Netflix series, "The Get Down," where he collaborated directly with Creator Baz Luhrmann and Executive Producer Tom Kelly. You will also recognize his face as he portrayed "Papa Fuerte's" (Jimmy Smits) right-hand man on the show in a recurring role.
At the close of the "Disco Era," Willie became a Booking Agent and Promoter for some of the most prominent Latino Music talents like Wisin y Yandel, Aventura, Don Omar, India, Xtreme, Gloria Trevi, Toby Love, Tego, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Ivy Queen, Frankie Negron, and many others. In 2009, he was honored by Latin Pride Magazine as Latin Music Impresario of the Year at the Latin Pride National Awards for his outstanding work with some of the premier Latin artists in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Willie is currently working alongside, the Bronx Historical Society, and Columbia University as a History Keeper and collaborating with his old friend Oscar Rivera to bring hidden Mott Haven history back to life. A teaser for his film, “Rise of the Latin Hustle” was recently presented at Hostos Community College, to a theater filled with students and professors who loved the presentation, and were left wanting more.