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Since high school officials told the Houston-area teen that he wouldn't graduate if he did not cut his dreadlocks, he's received a lot of positive nationwide attention, a $20,000 scholarship and now, the invite.
Celebrity couple Gabrielle Union and former Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade invited DeAndre Arnold, a Houston-area teen whose high school officials told him he wouldn’t graduate if he did not cut his dreadlocks, to the Oscars.
Union, the award-winning actress, and Wade, invited the young man and his mother, Sandy, to the Feb. 9 Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood. The couple co-produced a short film, Hair Love, with creator Matthew Cherry that celebrates the beauty and uniqueness of Black hair.
The couple created a video greeting for DeAndre that Cherry shared on his Twitter feed.
“Hey, DeAndre, I’m Gabrielle Union and I am one of the producers of the Oscar-nominated animated short film Hair Love,” Union states in the video. “When we heard about your story and you just wanting to wear your hair the way you want at school, and all this scrutiny that you faced and how unwavering you have been in standing up for yourself, we also knew that we had to get involved.”
Wade explains in the video that he and Union are big fans of the teen.
“We wanted to do something special for you,” Wade said. “You and your mother, Sandy, are the official guests of the Oscar-nominated team behind Hair Love at the 2020 Academy Awards. Get ready, you going to the Oscars, Bud.”
Cherry said on Twitter that Dove toiletry company will cover the cost of ceremony tickets, wardrobe and glam needs while Union and Wade will pay or the pair’s travel and hotel.
Arnold told CBS that he was overwhelmed by the love he is receiving since he first shared that Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas, informed him his hair violates the school’s dress code.
“It’s crazy- like, I never thought that people like D. Wade and Gabrielle Union would be on my side,” Arnold told the network. “The film is about hair love, and me and my hair kind of grew up together in a way. It’s like we are best friends. It really just means so much that we get an invite like this. It means the world to us, honestly.”
Earlier in the week on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” DeGeneres and pianist/songstress Alicia Keys awarded Arnold a $20,000 scholarship toward his college education.