Willie Estrada is a former National IT Manager who worked for several fortune 500 companies on Wall St. for 20 years. However, once upon a time, he was a Gang Leader whose gang "The Imperial Bachelors" were once involved with a great deal of violence, until Willie became one of its leaders, and helped bring peace into one of the most violent neighborhoods of the South Bronx. When it was called, "The Murder Capital of the United States" during the early 1970s, they introduced and hosted Latin Hustle at parties his gang's home base, St. Mary's Recreation Center, as an alternative to violence during the latter part of 1974. He went on to become a Professional Dancer, Author, Actor, Entertainer, Music Business Impresario, and National IT Manager.
Willie Estrada is also one of the original pioneers who helped develop the Latin Hustle during the early 1970s and was finally inducted into the "Hustle Hall Of Fame" among all the greats in 2009. However, he got his start as a professional dancer in late 1974 as a member of the Latin Symbolics Dance Company, which was founded by George Vascones in 1972 as a Mambo team in New York City. Later, he led a Rock dance team called "The Rock Masters," where he gained city-wide fame winning numerous dance contests. When Disco was all the rage, Willie was recruited by "The Latin Hustle Team" with dance partners Maggie Solis and later danced with Millie Silva, during the mid-1970s.
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, Daddy Yankee, Enrique Iglesias, 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.
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 all over the world, and traveled to places like Paris, Italy, China, the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, Mexico. 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 to the Chinese Government.
Most recently, Willie also 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.
Willie Estrada is currently President of Latin Empire Productions LLC, which he founded in 2005 as an entertainment company that represented Recording artists, and hosted parties in and out of New York City. It is now a Production Company, and they are currently producing their first film based on his book, "The Dancing Gangsters of the South Bronx," which had to be held back as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, he did release the 2nd Edition of his book during the summer of 2020. You can preview it by visiting my website. www.thedancinggangsters.com
Most recently, Willie took on a new role as Director of Special Incentives for Docu-Series Productions at the Hip Hop Association of Advancement and Education, or (HHAAE) and working alongside the founder and President Dr. Tasha Iglesias, and her board of directors. The plans are to produce authentic documentaries about the Origins of Hip Hop of the Latino contributions and perspectives, which have somehow been left out of the mainstream narrative for far too long.
Quote from Willie: “Treat others, the same way you would like to be treated, believe in yourself at all times, and never go down without a fight!”
Willie Estrada is an inductee of the Hustle Hall of Fame as an original 1st Generation Pioneer.
Click on the link; http://www.mjames.org/willie_estrada.html
Watch My Video Bio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnndHvrZJAs
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 also became the Friday night House Promoter for Bond International Casino in 1982. Where 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 party-goers in New York City.
During the Summer of 1974, the Imperial Bachelors Hosted a series of Latin Hustle and Rock Parties at St. Mary's Recreation Center in the South Bronx. These parties are said to have brought peace into an area considered to be the Murder Capital of the United States. At a time when the South Bronx was burning down all around them. These events predate Hip Hop, and although the story has never hit mainstream media. However, it is well documented and is finally getting the exposure it deserves. The pictures below depict the initiative brought forth by the Imperial Bachelors alongside several other gangs who are pictured here together in peace.