Looks like we can add another item to the growing list of things that may get Black students kicked out of graduation. In addition to beards and empowering poems, one California high school decided to remove a Black graduating senior during the middle of the ceremony for “not obeying the rules of graduation.” His infraction? Wearing a kente cloth stole.

Nyree Holmes told Fusion.net he wore the cloth to represent his culture.

“The kente cloth has been worn by royalty and it’s been used in royal ceremonies in Ghana and in other African countries where Christianity is the main religion,” the 18-year-old explained. “And me being a Christian and a person of African descent, I felt that it was right for me to represent my people and my future and my religion by wearing the kente cloth.”

Unfortunately, school officials didn’t see it that way. As he prepared to walk the stage and receive his diploma, Holmes was approached by school officials who asked him to remove the stole.

Holmes detailed the encounter on Twitter.

While security was being called, Holmes’ turn came up to take the stage. Still wearing the kente cloth, the teen felt he was home free. However, after basking in the moment, Holmes said he was met by security as he exited the platform.

Holmes’ father was eventually able to get the diploma, and the teen has officially completed high school.

While things ultimately worked out for Holmes and he’ll be attending Cal State University, Fullerton in the fall, why does it seem like so many schools are attempting to steal Black students’ joy?


Britni Danielle is a Los Angles based writer and editor. Catch her tweeting @BritniDWrites.