He was expelled after he refused to cut his afro. 57 years later, he got his degree
It took almost 60 years, but Otis Taylor was finally able to take the stage.
Who is he? The 74-year-old acclaimed blues musician and multi-instrumentalist has had made a career of crooning, strumming and rebelling against the status quo.
What's the big deal? Well, that haircut rule isn't required any longer. Taylor was finally able to receive his diploma in May, and walked the stage in a ceremony held by the Denver public school district.
What's he saying? Taylor spoke with NPR about the experience.
On his decision to refuse the haircut and follow his dream:
People have asked, "Would you do it if you had the chance to do it over again?" Hell yes I'd do it over again. You know, when you want to play music, you want to play music.
And his feelings at the graduation ceremony:
I was embarrassed, because there was other people graduating, but they focused on me.
They did a proclamation. So each person on the school board with the robes came up and read two paragraphs about who I was. It was kind of embarrassing. I just felt silly, because there's other people in there.
And I think there was a woman graduating with a year-and-a-half-year-old little boy in her arms. To me, she must have had to work really hard to get there. I don't know if I can explain how I felt.
Want more on famous musicians? Listen to Consider This reflect on the life of Rock n Roll icon, Tina Turner.
On his feelings all these years later:
You can't dwell on all the bad things that happened to you, especially as a Black person. You know, you just have those moments and I had a choice.
On his advice to young people who want to challenge norms:
It doesn't matter if you conform or don't conform. But I think people, you need to learn how to do something. It doesn't matter how you get the education. Just learn how to do something, whether you're a car mechanic or a computer person, or artist. You have to find a way to learn, whatever that takes.
So, what now?
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