Ellen DeGeneres' Campus in Rwanda Honors Stephen 'tWitch' Boss With Tree Planting

The campus included a tribute to the late dancer among its one-year anniversary celebrations.

Stephen "tWitch" Boss' friends and family continue to honor his legacy. On Monday, the Ellen Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund shared a photo of a tree planted in honor of the late choreographer during the first anniversary of its creation. The dancer died in December at age 40.

"In Memory of Stephen "tWitch" Boss and the light he brought to the world," the plaque planted in the ground reads. 

"As we celebrated the one year anniversary of our Ellen Campus this past week, we took a moment to recognize a very special person who left us too soon," the post's caption reads. "tWitch brought light to so many and was a wonderful friend to @ellendegeneres In his honor we planted this tree so he will be forever remembered on the campus."

Ellen DeGeneres opened the Ellen Campus on the four-year anniversary of The Ellen Fund. Located just outside Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and now open to the public, the Ellen Campus is described as "the first purpose-built, state-of-the-art home for the Fossey Fund’s research, education and other conservation programs, and for local communities, students, conservation partners and visitors from around the world."

The tree dedication is especially poignant considering the 64-year-old comedian's relationship with Boss before his death. The duo met in 2010, before the dancer became a household name when he became the Ellen show's house DJ from 2014 to the series’ end in 2022. 

Since his death, DeGeneres has shared several tributes for the choreographer, including an emotional video detailing how she planned to honor him during the holiday season. 

"I just wanted to say, the past 11 days have been really tough for everyone," DeGeneres began. "Everyone is in pain and trying to make sense of it, and we’ll never make sense of it. And the holidays are hard, I think, anyway."

"But to honor tWitch, I think the best thing that we can do is to laugh and hug each other, play games, and dance and sing," she continued. "That's the way we honor him, is we do the things that he loved to do, which is dancing. He loved music, he loved games, so we do that. I know it seems hard, it seems impossible, but that's how we honor him; hug each other, and tell each other we love each other, and let people know we're there for them, and check in on people."

DeGeneres concluded by wishing everyone a happy holidays before noting, "I know it's not a happy holiday, but he was pure light, as everybody in the comments said. If you knew him, you knew that. If you didn't know him, you saw it. Let's honor him and think about him and send love to one another."

More recently, Boss was honored in a new campaign for the capsule collaboration between Gap and The Brooklyn Circus. The dancer was close friends with Ouigi Theodore, founder and creative director of The Brooklyn Circus and was a vital part of the capsule created by the two brands.

In a bittersweet video spot for the campaign, Boss models the capsule collection while dancing, laughing and smiling. "If I can put light and joy on people's timelines, even if you're watching a 15-second clip and you just enjoy that dance, that little bit of light can go a long way," he's quoted on the site.

The brand shared the following statement alongside the campaign and collection's release: "The Brooklyn Circus and Gap share in the heartbreaking loss of beloved icon Stephen 'tWitch' Boss, who was a longtime supporter of the BKC community, [founder and creative director] Ouigi's work and a core part of this campaign thanks to his personal friendship with Ouigi Theodore."

Gap x The Brooklyn Circus

"When Stephen and I first saw his images from the campaign, it brought tears to our eyes. He was so moved by how they captured his true essence, and he was excited for the world to see them," the late choreographer's wife, Allison Holker, also shared in the press release. "We pay tribute to Stephen's life by sharing these images in homage to the joy and light he brought to everyone around him."

The release revealed that, in honor of Boss, Gap is supporting the 988 Lifeline by donating to Vibrant Emotional Health, which provides free and confidential emotional support and counseling to people in crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.