DeAndre Arnold proudly showcased his dreadlocks at the Oscars after being banned from graduation
Last month, it was reported that a Texas school district suspended a black student and told him he would not walk at graduation this spring unless he cuts his dreadlocks.
While the Barbers Hill ISD school board in Mont Belvieu insisted that this was not an issue of race, many activists have criticized them for the exclusionary nature of the decision.
Learn more about the situation from this news report:
Deandre Arnold, 18, has been growing his dreadlocks for 10 years, but recently, his school decided to suspend the student over the hairstyle. Indeed, a change made to the school handbook meant that he was no longer allowed to tie his dreadlocks back and was told he would have to cut them off completely.
When news of his suspension spread, many activists stood by the teenager.
"This is a black and white issue," said Gary Monroe, of the United Urban Alumni Association. "DeAndre should not have to — he should not have to go through this. His family should not have to go through this. But I expect it from a board that has zero diversity."
Matthew A. Cherry, the creator of the Oscar-winning short film 'Hair Love', and Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union, who are producers of the animated flick, decided to invite Arnold and his mother to the Oscars when they learned about the situation.
"We love the way that you carry yourself and we wanted to do something special for you," Wade told Arnold, per CBS News. "You and your mother Sandy are the official guests of the Oscar-nominated team behind 'Hair Love' at the 2020 Academy Awards."
In any case, at last night's 92nd Academy Awards, Arnold turned up, with his head held high, wearing his dreadlocks.
Hair Love centers around a black father who learns how to style his daughter's natural hair.
When asked on the red carpet if his recent fame has caused him to consider a career in Hollywood, Arnold told On The Red Carpet: "I don't want to be famous, I just want to be a vet and make my parents proud."
In the lead up to the ceremony, Arnold told Refinery29: "I'm so grateful. I never expected any of this. The message of that movie and my message go together so well. I think it's really amazing how they reached out to me and how we can fight this together."
Arnold has also received support from the likes of Ellen DeGeneres, who invited him as a guest on her show and surprised him with a $20,000 scholarship from Alicia Keys.