Andrew Johnson, a Black wrestler at Buena Regional High School in New Jersey, was instructed by Alan Maloney, a White referee, to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit a match.
The incident was caught on video and uploaded to Twitter by Mike Frankel, the sports director of SNJ Today News.
“A referee wouldn’t allow Andrew Johnson of Buena @brhschiefs to wrestle with a cover over his dreadlocks.”
Frankel tweeted, “It was either an impromptu haircut, or forfeit. Johnson chose the haircut, then won by sudden victory in OT to help spark Buena to a win.”
In the clip, Johnson can be seen reluctantly having his dreads cut off while being supported by a number of his teammates.
There has been an increase in the awareness of how Black people experience racism over the presence of their natural hair. In August, a father became emotional after his 6-year-old son was denied entry into a Florida school because of his dreads.
Watch the video of the Buena Regional High School incident below.
Epitome of a team player ⬇️
A referee wouldn't allow Andrew Johnson of Buena @brhschiefs to wrestle with a cover over his dreadlocks. It was either an impromptu haircut, or a forfeit. Johnson chose the haircut, then won by sudden victory in OT to help spark Buena to a win. pic.twitter.com/f6JidKNKoI
— Mike Frankel (@MikeFrankelJSZ) December 20, 2018
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.