Nyree Holmes, an 18-year-old graduating high school senior, was removed from his Cosumnes Oak High School graduation after he refused to remove a kente cloth that he had worn along with his cap and gown as a tribute to his African heritage.
While the merit scholar was able to walk across the stage at the predominantly white school graduation, as he told it in his own words, he was greeted by police on the other side and escorted to the exit.
Holmes took to Twitter to share his story.
@nyreehesr so I tell him "no this is mine".The mason proceeds to tell me that I cannot walk the stage with it on. And I respond" but I will"— Nyree Holmes (@nyreehesr) May 25, 2016
@nyreehesr to be forced not to take pride in who I am. I them asked him if "his agenda was worth more than my cultural pride" he then says..— Nyree Holmes (@nyreehesr) May 25, 2016
@nyreehesr so I tell him no as well, so I see mason storm out to get the police to get me before I walk. I get to the stage and I think I'm— Nyree Holmes (@nyreehesr) May 25, 2016
@nyreehesr at the bottom of the stairs. They tell me to leave with them and I said "sure guys let's go". As I'm walking out I call my mom to— Nyree Holmes (@nyreehesr) May 25, 2016
@nyreehesr so I get outside and walk to my family and tell them what happened and my dad takes my cap gown and id to try and get my diploma— Nyree Holmes (@nyreehesr) May 25, 2016
@nyreehesr so my dad comes across this security guard (black of course) that gets me into the exit to get my diploma. And then he takes— Nyree Holmes (@nyreehesr) May 25, 2016
@nyreehesr a pic of me and says "much love brother, stay up and achieve more"— Nyree Holmes (@nyreehesr) May 25, 2016
Holmes then spoke with the Atlanta Black Star to explain that wearing the cloth was important to him because as a "descendant of slaves, I have no firm connection to my roots in Africa."
“I wanted to wear my kente cloth as a representation of my pride in my ancestors, to display my cultural and religious heritage,” he said. “As my particular cloth was made by Christians in Ghana, where the kente cloth has been worn by royalty and during important ceremonies for hundreds if not thousands of years.” Adding, "If we are forced to wear the European cap and gowns [then] we should be able to wear the African kente cloth.”
His retelling of the story on Twitter has received both positive and negative responses.
“I have received a lot of support and outrage from fellow minorities as well as white people, who see the infringement upon my freedom of expression as appalling and shocking,” he told the news source. “I have also heard of some rumblings within the school of objection as to how I responded on Twitter, especially my tweet that reached over ten-thousand people, explicitly stating, 'F*** Cosumnes Oaks High School.' ”
Holmes has since deleted that specific Tweet.
This is a just a small hiccup in Holmes' life plan, however. Next year he will be attending California State University to major in cinema arts "to achieve my dream of becoming an impactful film director.”
Just another example proving that while people can try, you can't keep Black excellence down.
(Photo: Bounce/Getty Images)