Oscars 2020: Hair Love director Matthew Cherry brings Deandre Arnold, teen told to cut dreadlocks, to Academy Awards

FP Staff

Feb 10, 2020 11:02:33 IST

Hair Love director Matthew A Cherry brought a special guest to the Oscars red carpet: Deandre Arnold, a Texas high school student who was told he could not attend graduation unless he cut his dreadlocks.

 Oscars 2020: Hair Love director Matthew Cherry brings Deandre Arnold, teen told to cut dreadlocks, to Academy Awards

Arnold’s story brought national attention and prompted the Texas Legislative Black Caucus to work up a bill that would ban discrimination based on hair textures and styles commonly associated with race.

Arnold's experience is highly relevant to Hair Love, based on Cherry's children's book of the same name, which follows a black father trying to help his daughter take pride in her natural hair, and won the Academy Award for best animated short.

The film team also shared a video of the teen getting ready for the Oscars on their social media channels.

“It means the world to us to have him here with us,” Cherry said. “We wanted people to see how good of a kid he is, but also there’s no reason people should be policing our hair.”

Arnold said it has been “validating” to get backing from Cherry and other celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres, who gifted him $20,000 toward his education. “I’m standing strong because of the support system I have behind me,” Arnold said.

Cherry has become the second former professional athlete to win an Oscar, following Kobe Bryant who won in the same category for Dear Basketball at the 2018 Oscars. Bryant died in a helicopter crash last month. Onstage, Cherry said, “This award is dedicated to Kobe Bryant. May we all have a second act as great as his was.”

With inputs from The Associated Press.

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Updated Date: Feb 10, 2020 11:02:33 IST