Who: Matthew Cherry
What: Hair Love
Why We Care: Matthew Cherry’s Hair Love started from a Kickstarter, and now we’re here. The Sony Pictures animated short (based on his book by the same name) initially played this summer before Angry Birds 2, but as of today, it’s available to view online for free. Cherry blessed us by tweeting it out, just in time for Christmas.
Cherry, who spent three seasons as an NFL wide receiver before turning to filmmaking, dedicated this film to black fathers learning how to style their daughters’ hair. It sounds like a simple task, but anyone who has ever had to style kinky/curly hair understands how nerve-wracking a task it can be, especially when tackling it for the first time. For many fathers, it’s easy to leave the task to mom until the inevitable happens: Mom isn’t available.
Hair Love succinctly captures the nuances of learning how to style black hair. It begins with a little girl named Zuri watching a so-called easy hair tutorial by her mom, Angela (voiced by Issa Rae). Angela is a natural hair vlogger and—shocker!—her “easy” hair how-tos aren’t always actually easy. Her father, Stephen, walks in on her in the midst of defeat and attempts to figure things out on his own. He goes through a journey that is familiar to naturals, which ranges in trials. In this case, everything from figuring out porosity, the proper moisture, proper combing techniques, finding out too late that a hair band isn’t strong enough to hold the almighty puff, and attempting to decipher a trove of hair products vast enough to fill a Walgreens led to one crucial moment—making it a hat day. But Stephen sees the frustration in Zuri’s eyes when he’s considering the hat and decides to give Angela’s tutorial one more try. He is successful, and the plot twist at the end brings everything together perfectly. You understand why Zuri wanted her coiffure to be perfect.
But be warned: Your eyes might sweat.
Heartwarming things seem to be going around heavily this time of year.