By now, it’s hardly a secret that Black hair is scrutinized, policed, and criticized in ways that white hair isn’t. So people were rightfully outraged to hear the story of DeAndre Arnold, a Texas high school student who was suspended for violating his school’s dress code simply because he wore his hair in dreadlocks. He was also told he would not be able to walk in his graduation ceremony if he kept his hair in locs.
Many came to Arnold’s defense, calling the policy out for its inherent racism, including none other than Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade. Though his ability to walk at graduation is in limbo, in a truly sweet turn of events, DeAndre is instead going to walk the Oscars red carpet.
Union and Wade co-produced the Oscar-nominated short film called Hair Love, the story of an African-American dad who learns how to style his young daughter’s hair for the first time. After hearing Arnold’s story, the couple invited Arnold and his family to be their guests at this year’s Academy Awards. The film’s director, Matthew A. Cherry, revealed that Union and Wade will provide Arnold and co. with the full celeb treatment ahead of Sunday’s ceremony, and we truly can’t wait to see him and his perfect hair on the red carpet.
.@itsgabrielleu & @DwyaneWade are flying Deandre & his family out to LA for the Oscars and taking care of their loding/car service & our partners at @Dove are giving Deandre & his mom the red carpet treatment by taking care of their tickets, wardrobe & glam for the big night. pic.twitter.com/WSEB8lYauN— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) January 31, 2020
Cherry, Union, and Wade all recorded videos in support of Arnold to extend the invite his way, and shared how his story inspired them, especially in light of the fact that their film touches on a fictional Black father and his relationship with his young daughter’s hair.
Warning, the videos might make you shed a happy tear or two, so you’ll probably want to have a few tissues handy.
You can check out Hair Love below. And again, keep those tissues at the ready.
According to Cherry, DeAndre has already changed schools, where he’ll hopefully find a more inclusive environment. But in the meantime, we hope the Arnold family has an incredible time at the Oscars. We’re also hoping that his story going public will help other schools reassess their own dress codes and treatment of Black students’ hair—it’s long overdue at this point.