The mother of a Black cheerleader is accusing her daughter’s former coaches of racism after the teenager was kicked off her high school’s cheerleading team over dance videos she posted on social media. The coaches claimed the videos were sexually inappropriate.
According to WATE, Te’shauria’s Akinleye’s dismissal from the Hardin Valley Academy cheerleading team stemmed from some videos she posted of her performing dance routines on social media. “I know the video wasn’t very appropriate for the cheer team, but I wasn’t in uniform or anything,” Te’shauria said. She also said there was no communication over the kind of dance videos she could share.
“I would have known what I needed to prevent from happening, or what I needed to prevent from doing in the videos, but I didn’t get that message so I didn’t know what I was doing wrong,” the teen said.
The teen’s mother, Toksy Akinleye, told the news outlet some of her daughter’s White teammates had also similarly performed some of the routines in question and posted them on social media. But they weren’t dismissed.
“The Cheer Coach messaged Te’shauria and said, ‘Hey, this is not cheerleader-appropriate for Hardin Valley or not appropriate for a Hardin Valley Cheerleader, delete it,’” Toksy said, adding that she reviews her daughter’s videos before she posts them.
Toksy said her daughter deleted the video after she was contacted. The cheerleader and her mother also said they made sure subsequent dance videos the teen shared were more appropriate. “The first TikTok was a full body and that’s the one they asked her to delete, the subsequent ones that she posted she cropped herself out from the waist up,” Toksy said.
But Te’shauria’s coaches still took issue with some of the subsequent videos. “I got a phone call from the coach and the coach’s assistant and it started off with, you know, ‘Hey, we had that video that we asked Te’shauria to delete and we know she deleted it, but then since that time she’s had three subsequent videos which are sexually inappropriate or explicit,” the teen’s mother said about an August 12 phone conversation with the coaches.
“There’s certain motions that she’s doing in those videos that we’ve told the girls they can’t do,” Toksy said in reference to what the coaches told her. Te’shauria was subsequently dismissed from the team.
As if that was the end, Toksy said the Department of Child Services (DCS) and the Knoxville Sheriff’s Office were called to investigate her for sexual abuse on her daughter. The officers came to their home hours after Toksy spoke with her daughter’s former coaches. “I was like, ‘Did somebody call you about the videos?’ and she said, ‘Yeah, you know what we came for,’” she recalled.
Toksy was, however, not charged after the officers established the allegations were “unfounded.” Toksy told WATE she believes they were targeted because they’re Black, adding that her daughter’s dance videos were sexualized because of her body features.
“I think, to be honest, it’s because she’s black,” she said. “If you look at some of the videos and compare her body and her dancing to some of the other girls and their body and their dancing, she has more of a body than they do.”
Despite the incident, Toksy said the coaches cannot determine what her daughter should do and also not do while she’s at home. “You can’t tell me that as a Cheer Coach that you have control over my child in my household when that’s under my time,” she said.