The high school senior who was suspended from his school because he refused to cut off his dreadlocks walked the red carpet at this year’s Academy Awards.
DeAndre Arnold was invited by the creative team behind the short film Hair Love as their guest at Sunday’s glamorous occasion.
The 18-year-old was told by officials from his school in Texas that he wouldn’t be able to walk at his graduation if he didn’t cut his dreadlocks.
Rightfully, DeAndre decided to take a stand against the prejudice. As a result, he’ll be forced to attend an “alternative school”, despite the fact his grades are good.
The move captured the media’s attention and led star chat show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres to invite him onto her show where he was awarded a $20,000 scholarship.
DeAndre said his hair is “really important” to him because his father is from Trinidad.
‘Don’t just shut us out’
“It’s part of our culture and our heritage,” he told Ellen. “And I really wish the school would kind of be open to other cultures and just at least let us try to tell you some things. Don’t just shut us out.”
On Sunday DeAndre could be seen alongside Hair Love director Matthew A. Cherry and producer Rupert Toliver on the red carpet. The movie, which is a celebration of black hair, won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film.
Matthew A Cherry, a former NFL player, invited DeAndre to the ceremony in a video telling him: “We’ve all been so inspired by your story, and this is the very least we can do to thank you for standing up for yourself and for your right to wear your natural hair at school.”
‘Celebrates black hair’
Cherry said that the movie aimed to “give kids a character that normalizes and celebrates black hair”
He told NBC News: “Black fathers get a bad rap in mainstream media, so I also wanted to show them as present and caring, versus the deadbeat dad stereotype that is often ascribed to them in film.”
What a well-deserved moment for this brave teen and I’m so happy this important movie won!
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