Allison Holker and her husband, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, were making their way through airport security when suddenly a man began shouting.
“He was pointing at Stephen, who is African American, and was like, ‘You better not steal my bag!'” Holker told TODAY Parents. “Then he said to the other white people around, ‘He’s gonna take my stuff.'”
The “So You Think You Can Dance” star almost started to cry. But it wasn’t because of what had just come out of the stranger’s mouth. It was Boss’s reaction.
“He said, ‘Sir, I don’t do it. I won’t steal your stuff. I have no intentions of doing that,’” she recalled. “Afterwards, I asked Stephen so many questions. I wanted to know how he could stay so calm. And he was like, ‘this kind of stuff has happened before.’”
Holker hasn’t experienced racial profiling like her husband has. But she’s received hateful messages on Instagram because she’s married to a Black man.
“I don’t delete the comments. I leave them up because I think it’s important for people to see that this is happening,” she explained.
Recently, Holker started responding.
“For years I wouldn’t get involved. But what I’ve grown to learn is that I have an opportunity to educate and have a conversation,” she said. “So, I now talk to them. I write back.”
Holker and Boss, who are parents to kids Weslie, 12, Maddox, 4, and 8-month-old Zaia, encourage their eldest to do the same. Weslie boasts nearly 70,000 followers on Instagram and frequently gets questions like, "Why do you dress like a boy?"
“I said to her, ‘I don’t want you to stand back and accept and have to live with it inside. I want you to address these people but come from a place of wanting to help,'" Holker said. "She's had kids reach out to her and say, 'Thank you so much for speaking up like that. I'm being bullied and you gave me the courage to do the same.'"
Holker spoke to TODAY Parents while promoting her partnership with Banana Boat and their #ProtectTheFun initiative.
Holker, who uses the brand’s ultra sport spray SPF 50, says she doesn’t have any trouble getting her kids to wear sunscreen.
“We live in California so it’s a part of our daily life. Every morning, we brush our teeth, we wash our face and we put on sunscreen,” she said. “They’ve never complained about it, because it’s never really been an option. It’s just part of our regular routine.”