Police Escort Black Merit Scholar Out of Graduation After Refusing to Remove Kente Cloth

An 18-year-old Black student was removed from graduation after he refused to take off his kente cloth. Nyree Holmes attended the diverse but predominately white Cosumnes Oaks High School in Elk Grove, California. 

In a story he shared on Twitter May 24, the merit scholar says he was able to walk across the stage, but police officers greeted him at the other end.

He tells Atlanta Black Star it was important for him to wear the traditional African print 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. 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.  If we are forced to wear the European cap and gowns [then] we should be able to wear the African Kente Cloth.”


The police were called?! He was being a bit defiant, but the POLICE? It’s a shame the school messed up the Graduation for everyone. Would they have demanded a Muslim woman take off her headscarf, or any other cultural or religious emblem being removed? #Hate it!