Teenager stood down from school for refusing to cut dreadlocks invited to Oscars

An 18-year-old Texas teenager who was told to either cut his dreadlocks or not attend graduation has been invited to the Oscars by Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade.

The Bring it On actress and basketballer Wade, who produced Oscar-nominated short film Hair Love, invited student DeAndre Arnold because the team was inspired by the boy's courage.

"As you may have already heard, DeAndre was recently suspended and threatened with not being able to walk in his high school graduation if he didn’t cut his hair and inviting him to the Oscars was the least we could do."

DeAndre told CBS he never thought people like Wade and Union would be on his side.

"It really just means so much that we gt an invite like this," he told CBS.

"Me and my hair kind of grew up together in a way, it’s like we’re best friends," he said. 

Arnold first gained media attention when he appeared on The Ellen Show and was gifted a cheque of NZ$30,811 by Alicia Keys live on Thursday. 

According to DeGeneres, Arnold, who wants to be a veterinarian, has good grades and has never been in trouble.

Arnold told DeGeneres he would go to Barbers Hill Independent School District, every day with his hair up and following the dress code. 

"If (my hair) was let down, I would be out of dress code."

"If girls can have long hair, why can't I?"

Arnold said his dreadlocks are more than just hair to him. 

"It's really important to me because my dad is from Trinidad and it's part of his culture and heritage," he told DeGeneres.

"I really wish the school would be open to other cultures, at least let us try to tell you some things, don't just shut us out."

If Arnold goes back to school his only option is an in-school suspension or "alternative school".

"I am begging you, this kid is a good kid. He deserves to graduate, to walk with all the other kids," said DeGeneres.