Gabrielle Union along with her husband, Dwyane Wade will have a plus one at the Oscars with them! After Texas teen, DeAndre Arnold was told he could not graduate unless he cut his locs, the couple decided to step in. Additionally, Matthew A. Cherry of Hair Love, which is nominated for Best Animated Short Film invited the teen also. Between Union and Wade co-producing the short film with the creator and the recent discrimination Union experienced from AGT, this issue was personal.
Not only did the trio invite DeAndre, but also his mother, which they announced in a video shared via Twitter. In the video they said that they would cover all travel and hotel costs, as well as “provide full wardrobe and glam for the big night,” courtesy of Dove.
Since Deandre Arnold’s school didnt 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. Thank you @itsgabrielleu @DwyaneWade & @Dove for their help. pic.twitter.com/RD8cv0iL8G
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) January 31, 2020
“You just wanting to wear your hair the way you want at school, and all the scrutiny you faced, and how unwavering you have been in standing up for yourself, we also knew we had to get involved,” Union said.
“We’re big fans. We love the way that you carry yourself and we wanted to do something special for you,” Wade added.
“We’ve all been so inspired by your story and this is the very least we can do to thank you for standing up for yourself and for your right to wear your natural hair at school” Cherry said.
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) January 31, 2020
The story began when the Barbers Hill High School student, who always met school policies, was suspended for not cutting off his natural hair. After a change of “dress code,” the school told the Black teen that he cannot walk at graduation or return to school unless the locs are cut. To Arnold his hair is a representation of his culture, especially since his father is from Trinidad.
The student also received further support earlier this week when Ellen DeGeneres and Alicia Keys surprised him with $20,000 scholarship.
“It’s crazy. I never thought that people like D. Wade and Gabrielle Union would be on my side,” he told CBS This Morning.
“It really just means so much that we get an invite like this,” Arnold added. “It means the world to us.”
According to Cherry, this opportunity will give Arnold’s story the platform it deserves. The star-studded event which DeAndre will share the red carpet with is Feb. 9.