Teen suspended for dreadlocks attends Oscars with ‘Hair Love’ creators

Matthew A. Cherry, from second left, Deandre Arnold, his mother Sandy Arnold, second right, and the cast and the crew of "Hair Love" arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

February 9, 2020

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Texas high school student DeAndre Arnold, who was suspended from school and told he couldn’t walk at his graduation unless he cut his dreadlocks, made his Hollywood debut Sunday night.

Arnold attended this year’s Academy Awards as a guest to some of the creators of the animated film, “Hair Love.”

The short film follows a man, who also has dreadlocks, learning how to do his daughter’s hair for the first time.

It won the Oscar for Animated Short and has been praised for its celebration of black hair.

Arnold appeared on the red carpet alongside Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver, the film’s director and producer, respectively.

He was invited to attend the ceremony after Cherry, former NBA player Dwyane Wade and actress Gabrielle Union — who are producers of “Hair Love” — heard his story.

In his Oscars acceptance speech, Cherry mentioned the CROWN Act, which stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.”

“‘Hair Love’ was done because we wanted to see more representation in animation,” Cherry said. “There’s a very important issue that’s out there, the CROWN Act, and if we can help to get this passed in all 50 states, it will help stories like DeAndre Arnold’s, who is our special guest tonight, stop happening.”

The CROWN Act aims to protect against discrimination based on hair texture and protective styles, according to its website. It is already law in California, New York and New Jersey.

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