‘Hair Love’ team brings teen who wouldn’t cut his dreadlocks to the Oscars

DeAndre Arnold and Matthew Cherry
DeAndre Arnold, left, arrives at the 92nd Academy Awards with “Hair Love” director Matthew A. Cherry, back right.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

In January, DeAndre Arnold was told by his Texas high school that he had to cut off the dreadlocks he’s had for years or he’d be suspended and banned from the school’s graduation ceremony.

On Sunday, the 18-year-old — who has since transferred schools and still has his locs — was headed with Matthew A. Cherry’s “Hair Love” team to a very different event: the 2020 Oscars ceremony.

After news broke about Arnold’s situation, “Hair Love” producers Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade and director Cherry reached out on social media and invited him and his mom to attend the Academy Awards. Their film about a black father who learns to style his daughter’s hair is nominated for animated short.


“The message of that movie and my message go together so well. I think it’s really amazing how they reached out to me and we can fight this together,” Arnold told Refinery 29 on Sunday. He said he never expected anything like this to happen.

Dove, which partnered on “Hair Love,” sprung for tickets, lodging and “glam” for Arnold and his mom, Sandra. Arnold said in January that he grew out his dreadlocks to honor his father’s Trinidadian heritage.

“Hair Love” filmmakers Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver discuss their animated short, which is nominated for a 2020 Oscar.

Feb. 6, 2020