This story just keeps getting better!
Matthew Cherry, Gabrielle Union, Dwyane Wade, and the team behind the animated sensation Hair Love, have invited DeAndre Arnold to the Oscars, Huffpost reports.
Arnold is the Texas high school senior suspended from school and banned from walking at his high school graduation due to a hair length policy at Barbers Hill High School. The school gave Arnold an ultimatum, cut the locs that grow naturally from his head or forego walking across the stage at graduation. Arnold and his family have refused to abide by the discriminatory policy, doing interviews speaking out and stressing the importance of locs for his culture. The family has been largely applauded for their decision, even receiving a $20,000 scholarship from Ellen DeGeneres and Alicia Keys.
The story caught the attention of Matthew Cherry and the team behind Hair Love, a wildly popular animated short celebrating the beauty of Black Hair. Ironically, at the same time Arnold is being discriminated against for his hair, Cherry’s film is nominated for an Oscar for its beautiful portrayal.
Cherry, the writer and director of the short as well as Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade who served as producers decided to affirm the teen in his decision and invite him to be their guest at the upcoming Academy Awards.
“Since DeAndre Arnold’s school didn’t want to let him walk at his graduation because of his hair we figured that he should walk with us on the red carpet at the #Oscars as our special guest,” Cherry tweeted.
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 31, 2020
Union and Wade are flying the teen and his mother out to Los Angeles for the Oscars and taking care of their lodging and transportation costs while there. Beauty brand Dove, a sponsor of Hair Love, is also getting in on the good deed, covering the ticket costs and wardrobe for Arnold and his mom.
“When we heard about your story, and you just wanting to wear your hair the way you want at school … and all the scrutiny that you faced and how unwavering you have been, we also knew that we had to get involved,” Union told Arnold in a video, with Wade adding that they are big fans of him.
“It’s crazy – I never thought that people like D Wade and Gabrielle Union would be … on my side. The film is about hair love, and me and my hair kind of grew up together. In a way, it’s like we’re best friends,” Arnold said.
Congratulations DeAndre! You deserve every good thing! Keep standing up for what is right!