Last week we reported on the story of DeAndre Arnold, a Texas teenager who was told that he wouldn’t be allowed to walk in his graduation if he didn’t cut his locs. When the Barbers Hill ISD school board, refused to examine whether their dress code policy unfairly targeted Black students, including Arnold, his story began to spread across the country.
In a turn of events for the A-student, Ellen DeGeneres welcomed the teen to her show, where she addressed the hypocrisy of the policy.
“Are there girls at your school? And do the girls have long hair?” she asked.
“There’s plenty of girls at my school with long hair,” Arnold told her. “If girls can have long hair why can’t I have long hair.”
“My hair is really important to me. My dad is from Trinidad and [locs] are part of our culture and our heritage,” Arnold said. “And I really wish the school would be open to other cultures and just at least let us try to tell you some things. Don’t just shut us out.”
At one point in the interview Ellen turned to the camera and plead with Arnold’s school district to allow him to walk in his graduation.
“He’s a good guy,” she said. “I’m urging you to do the right thing. Please.”
Moments later Alicia Keys came out to present the 18-year-old with a check for $20K from Shutterfly to support and invest in his journey to becoming a vet—a dream that he expressed to Ellen.
“I’m super proud of you for standing up for what you know is right,” Keys told Arnold. And I know that the school needs to do the right thing. You’re destined already for greatness.”