Teen suspended over dreadlocks receives Oscars invitation
Last week, 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."
In fact, Arnold's story received so much attention that even Hollywood film execs are offering their solidarity by inviting the young man to the upcoming Academy Awards Ceremony on February 10.
Matthew A. Cherry, the creator of the Oscar-nominated short film "Hair Love", and Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union, who are producers of the animated flick, decided to invite Arnold 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."
"Just hearing his story, it really just represented everything we were trying to do with the short film, 'Hair Love.' We really wanted to just normalize black hair, normalize us," Cherry said.
"It's hard to take in," Cherry said of the teen's reaction upon hearing about his Oscars invite. "I've got excitement and then it's just like, 'Is this really happening? Am I in a dream?' ... it blows my mind that people that have so much voice, they're on my side and they're with me. I love that. I appreciate that. I really do."