Boy insulted for pink hair, Pittsfield officer and Kelly Osbourne step in

July 12, 2017 06:30 PM

LANESBOROUGH -- Jacob Shelsy was fresh out of the salon with a new pink haircut last week. After dying his hair pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the Lanesborough 8-year-old wanted to do it again.  

"I like doing it for breast cancer awareness, and it's my favorite color," said Jacob.

During the family's next errand at a Pittsfield auto garage, Courtney says a man had a problem with pink. She says the guy at the desk told Jacob pink hair was for a girl and called him "Mary".

Courtney says she rushed Jacob out and sat him down.

"We actually talked afterwards. (Jacob) told me that it was okay because people say that stuff all the time. That broke my heart," said Courtney Shelsy.

Courtney got on Facebook and wrote about what happened. People started hitting the share button and Pittsfield Police Officer Darren Derby saw it. Derby is known for community policing and he says he had to do something for Jacob.  

He reached out to a model he knew named Phil Sullivan. They started to brainstorm about people who could talk to Jacob.

"I said to him, 'who up on the food chain that we know could be motivational to him, maybe give him some insight?' I'm thinking Tyra Banks. He's like 'Kelly Osbourne,'" said Officer Derby.

Osbourne reached out via Skype and Officer Derby was there as Jacob and his family talked to the celebrity daughter of Ozzy Osbourne for a half hour.

Jacob was a bit shy at first but the 32-year old British singer-songwriter, actress, fashion designer – and daughter of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne – gave him some encouragement.  Osbourne wrote this on her Facebook page:

    “Upon hearing everything Jacob went through It not only broke my heart but resonated so deeply with me. It's no secret I am faced with the same discrimination due to my hair every single day! Jacob is eight years old he     has been deeply hurt by people's words and reactions to his hair. He genuinely doesn't understand what the problem is as he only wanted to help people by dying it pink."

Even though Jacob didn't really know who Kelly Osbourne was initially, he says he's feeling better and so is his family.

"He definitely needed to know everybody's behind him," said Courtney Shelsy.

Officer Derby is trying to get #BraveJacob trending. Jacob is still rocking the pink hair and says he has not thought about changing it.


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John Craig

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