A black student in Texas who was suspended because his high school said the way he wore his dreadlocks violated its dress code has been invited to the Oscars.
Actress Gabrielle Union and former NBA champion Dwyane Wade — a married couple who were producers of “Hair Love,” an Oscar-nominated short animated film by Matthew Cherry — have invited the teenager, DeAndre Arnold, to attend the 92nd Academy Awards on Feb. 9.
“As you may have already heard, DeAndre was recently suspended and threatened with not being able to walk in his high school graduation if he didn’t cut his hair and inviting him to the Oscars was the least we could do,” the producers posted on Instagram on Friday with a segment of their announcement on “CBS This Morning.”
“Hair Love” is about an African American father who learns to style his young daughter’s hair for the first time. DeAndre was excited about the Oscars and the couple’s support.
“It’s crazy. Like, I never thought that people like DWade and Gabrielle Union would be, like, on my side,” DeAndre said on the CBS show, where he appeared with his mother, Sandy Arnold.
Union and Wade were not immediately available for comment Saturday.
Just before winter break, DeAndre was called into the principal’s office and placed on an in-school suspension. DeAndre’s father, David Arnold, said Saturday that DeAndre was back in school and referred inquiries to his wife, who did not immediately respond for comment.
DeAndre has said in interviews with news outlets that he has been wearing his dreadlocks since seventh grade and had no plans to cut his hair. He said his hairstyle had nothing to do with his potential.
“Me and my hair kind of grew up together, in a way,” he said. “It’s like we’re best friends.”