I was scrolling on Instagram this morning when I saw that someone I admired and turned to for smiles took their own life last night. I was in shock and disbelief but then a cold shadow of reality came over me. Even a celebrity I looked up to you for inspiration and light was lying. Tears of a Clown by Smokey Robinson begin playing in my head while I looked at his last social media post. It was full of joy and laughter in celebration of his recent wedding anniversary. How could someone who always looked so happy and danced every day take his own life?
Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss, Former ‘Ellen DeGeneres Show’ DJ, and ‘SYTYCD’ All-Star died by suicide last night. It was a self-inflicted gunshot at a roadside Los Angeles hotel.
His wife went to the LAPD on Tuesday, December 13th, saying her husband was acting out of character by leaving home without his car. She was worried. LAPD responded to a gunshot at a local hotel later that day where they found Stephen already passed. This is a complete shock to so many leaving his family but also the rest of the world with sadness and disbelief. How could this happen to a self-proclaimed “SmileSpreader” as listed as his last qualifier on his Instagram profile?
Boss began DJing on “Ellen” in 2014 and remained on the daytime talk series until it ended in 2022. In 2020, DeGeneres named him an executive producer.
Boss broke into Hollywood after finishing in second place on Season 4 of “So You Think You Can Dance.” After dancing as an extra in films like “Blades of Glory” and “Hairspray,” he began landing bigger roles in “Step Up 3D” and “Magic Mike XXL.” Boss’ credits also include “Step Up All In,” “Modern Family,” “Ghostbusters,” “Love,” “East Los High,” “Bones,” “Touch” and “Famous in Love.”
Early in his career, he choreographed for K-pop artists Seven and Big Bang. Later on, Boss went co-founded CLI Studios, which offers online dance classes with top choreographers.
This man was the epitome of smooth. He made dancing look as easy as breathing with his own hip-hop, street, and lyrical blend. It was more satisfying than your first-morning cup of coffee. He seemed to have it all; the career, insanely beautiful wife, and the most gorgeous children I’ve ever seen.
“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to share that my husband Stephen has left us,” said Holker on Wednesday. “Stephen lit up every room he stepped into. He valued family, friends, and community above all else, and leading with love and light was everything to him. He was the backbone of our family, the best husband and father, and an inspiration to his fans.”
Her statement continued, “To say he left a legacy would be an understatement, and his positive impact will continue to be felt. I am certain there won’t be a day that goes by that we won’t honor his memory. We ask for privacy during this difficult time for myself and especially for our three children.”
I’ve read many of today’s articles about Twitch. They are all well done honoring his life and achievements. This is important, but it’s also crucial to address the elephant in the room. That’s each and every one of us who thinks about suicide and has come close to doing it. We don’t talk about it. We see these stories, wish the family of the departed prayers and condolences, but usually return back to our daily lives in a few days. This time I’d like to share a personal story and why suicide prevention is so important to me.
I remember a kid in 3rd grade who was just so different. She didn’t fit in with any of the other kids, was working earning real money, and had hung out with adults her whole life. She had nothing in common with the students at school who snubbed and picked on her. Children made fun of her behind her back while pretending to be her friend. This little girl always had the most beautiful gifts to give her classmates. She bought them herself with her own money she made doing movies and commercials. The kids would take the presents, but later stab her in the back. She had a strong faith and knew only of Jesus and these creatures called angels who were supposed to be really nice. All she knew was maybe this “heaven” was a nice place to be where people would leave her alone or show her some kindness. She knew there was only one way to get there and planned her trip to happen one winter day when recess was over.
That little girl was me. Fortunately the rope I brought to school broke while trying to tie it from a big old metal slide on the playground that cold snowy day. I guess angels really do exist and they had different plans for me. I remember hitting the ground climbing the slide and the blow literally knocking some sense into me. No one knew until years later when I threatened to try again and this time my mother overheard me.
My mom was old school. She had me in her 40’s and back then it was “please, thank you, excuse me, Mr., Mrs., Miss and may I please be excused from the table.” It’s not like that these days. On any given day my mom was there to remind me she was not in my life to be popular, to be liked, or to be my “best friend.” That wasn’t her role. Her role was to guide, teach me, and oh how she did by her solid example.
One day she caught wind of me threatening to take my life. With tears gushing from her eyes and rage in her hands she took hold of my throat choking me like a rerun of an old TNA Impact Wrestling match. She squeezed and wouldn’t let go. Her voice boiled with grit but in a low quiet grumble said, “you will NEVER do such an act! NEVER! You would kill ME,” she raged. “You would kill ME! You will PROMISE me today that you will NEVER EVER do ANYTHING to hurt yourself! Promise me!”
I shake as I type. I cry because it’s like she’s standing in front of me now wanting me to do the same to people reading and wanting to hurt themselves. She would want you all to heed her warning. Promise me, promise me no matter how difficult things get that you count to 10, that you look around and give a new day a chance. There is a new number 988. Call it if you are at the end of your rope. It has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
My mom is long gone now but her words, her passion, her belief in the almighty God, and her “promise” she made me give, lives on. I pass the torch to you all.
No matter how “bad” thighs seem to you, your life, your family, work, finances, or any situation you are in, PLEASE give it a beat. Stop and breathe. Call “988.” The people at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline are the most amazing human beings on the planet. They are trained professionals who have the wisdom to help. Talk to a friend. Go speak to a priest or someone at your church. Do what you have to do to make it to another day. That’s the trick. I know it well. You have to just make yourself think it’s going to be ok in the midst of chaos because trust me the next day gets better. And the one after that. Suicide comes out of haste and not mentally being clear enough to make a rational decision.
So go do something immediately that you love. Put on your favorite (non-violent) song. Watch your favorite UPBEAT movie, call an old friend, or go to your favorite restaurant. Eat your favorite food. If finances are wonky just go to that restaurant ANYWAY. Tell them you need them. Tell another human being, “I’m hurting. I’m out of it. I don’t have the money for this sandwich but may I have one anyway?”
I know from experience the compassion humans will have for you and the mercy they will show. We are just too proud of society to ever ask for help. We all want to look as perfect as Twitch did on his family’s social media. There were obviously things going on there we couldn’t see. As there are for so many people and families all across the globe. Be sensitive to that. Give people a break from time to time. Lay off your car horn unless completely necessary. Learn to give more compliments and look a person dead in the eyes doing so.
I have no words for this late dancer other than may you help the souls in heaven find their rhythm. Illuminate the sky as only you know how. I wish we all could have known something was wrong and we could have helped. We didn’t. So all I can do is ask anyone reading to make me that promise my mom made me give, and that’s #JustStay.
Remember If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org. Tell a friend. Remind yourself. It could save a life.