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Step it Up's Traci Young-Byron goes to bat for dark-skinned dancers

Passionate about dance, Stephanie's love of reality television and celebrity entertainment began with "Dancing with the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance." She has since discovered the wonders of the "Real Housewives," the Kardashia...

Traci Young-Byron takes a stand against skin-color discrimination

In the brief time she's spent as a reality star, Traci Young-Byron has received quite a bit of criticism for her unorthodox and often harsh teaching style. Young-Byron may be strict, but she's also willing to stick up for her dancers when she feels they are being mistreated.

In addition to developing a new generation of talented young dancers, Young-Byron is committed to eradicating skin-color discrimination from the world of performing arts. She faces an uphill battle, as viewers learned during tonight's episode of Step it Up.

Traci Young-Byron takes a stand against skin-color discrimination
Image: Lifetime

More: Traci Young-Byron attacked for using a bat in the studio on Step it Up

The discrimination drama began when Young-Byron invited fellow NBA dancer Jordan Krinke to her studio to scope out a few dancers for Victoria Velvet's next big music video. Young-Byron claimed to trust Krinke's judgment, but once she learned that a few of her strongest dancers didn't make the cut, she made her displeasure known. At first, her protests seemed to be little more than the favoritism that remains a constant theme on Dance Moms. However, fans of Step it Up quickly realized that there was far more to this issue than Young-Byron's favorites missing out on a good opportunity.

More: Traci Young-Byron dishes on her no-nonsense teaching style

As Young-Byron — and several unhappy Step it Up fans — noted, Krinke primarily selected dancers with lighter skin. In doing so, she passed up several of the Young Contemporary Dance Theatre's most talented students. Krinke initially claimed that height played a major role in the decision-making process, but Young-Byron quickly poked a hole in that argument. She went on to complain about how often dancers with dark skin are passed up in favor of less-qualified, but lighter-skinned competitors. Skin-color discrimination prevented Young-Byron from taking advantage of multiple opportunities, and the last thing she wants is for this ongoing societal problem to harm her YCDT students.

Traci Young-Byron takes a stand against skin-color discrimination
Image: Lifetime

More: 4 Reasons Step it Up fans love Diaunte

As adamant as Young-Byron seemed about representing the darker-skinned dancers of YCDT, viewers only witnessed a small slice of the drama. While tweeting about the episode, Young-Byron admitted that she was far harder on Krinke than viewers suspected.

Fans did not need to see the entirety of Young-Byron's confrontation with Krinke to know that she had her dancers' best interests at heart. Several fans took to Twitter to voice their approval for Young-Byron's advocacy.

There's nothing easy about being a member of the YCDT, but at least these dancers know that Young-Byron always has their back, especially when she suspects that discrimination is keeping them from reaching their full potential.

Were you pleased to see Traci Young-Byron sticking up for her students on Step it Up? Comment and share your opinion below.

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